Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Play With Your Food: A Tale of Two Play Kitchens!

We all know real cooking is fun but pretend cooking? That is pretty marvelous too. And what better way to start engaging kids with cooking but through play?

I wanted to share two really great play kitchens from two of my friends. What I love about both of them is that you don't need a lot of bells and whistles or electronics to inspire imaginations and creative play.

Kitchen #1: The DIY Play Kitchen from Nicola

My friend, Nicola, has an amazing blog, Which Name, about "frugality, earth friendly living, family, simplifying, and arts & crafting." She posted this $2 Play Kitchen that she and her husband refurbished for their daughter. But it didn't look like this when they bought it...

It looked like this! With some TLC and items around the house, they transformed it. They estimated that if they bought the items they used, it would have cost about 20 dollars.

As far as the lasting popularity of play kitchens with Nicola's kids, she told me, "We had a $20 used plastic cook set for our daughter, which I bought for outside use when she was a toddler. But it was such a popular item with all the kids, and one with such staying power (at 4 she was still loving it, as was her 1 year old brother), that I wanted one for inside with a nicer aesthetic. We are too frugal to buy a new wood one, so enter our yard sale find." Here's the link to her original post!

So, if you are feeling inspired about making your own play kitchen from a shelf, from a box, from a table...check out this DIY Play Kitchen Roundup link at full of photos of many different, inspiring DIY play kitchens made by creative moms and dads.

Kitchen #2: Little I's Simple Play Kitchen

If "doing it yourself" isn't your thing, you can find many simple play kitchens that inspire little hands to play. Mama A did a lot web research to find the perfect play kitchen for her 2 and 1/2 year old, Little I (you might remember Little I's first baking experience on my old baking blog here). "I didn't want one with all the bells and dings (inhibits her creativity/ super annoying), nor would it have fit into my house. Also I thought it should not be particularly girly. Everyone cooks!" she says. She liked the Plan Toys ones but they were pretty pricey. She finally chose this one at Ooompa which is in the photo above.

So, do you have a play kitchen? Did you make it or buy it? Would love to hear your thoughts or even see a photo!