Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A tale of two kitchens

As a child I was was always fascinated with toys that mimicked real life appliances. At one point my parents bought me a toy ironing set, complete with a red checkered ironing board and an iron that connected to the wall with a suction pad.  I adored it! I loved pretending I was really ironing my doll's clothing!   Although I never owned a play kitchen, I enjoyed having fun with it at my friend's house and always longed to have my very own play kitchen. Even as a child I recognized that the play options were endless; there always seemed to be so much to do with a play kitchen and all that plastic food!

During my pregnancy, whilst shopping for baby gear I came across several cute play kitchens, and I made a mental note to come back to them when my daughter was old enough. Now that she is 19 months old, I think it's a great time to start looking for one especially with all the holiday sales coming up.  The great thing about a play kitchen is that it encourages a child to use their imagination in ways that most electronic toys will not. It gives them the opportunity to learn the motions of running a multi-appliance kitchen in the same way they have seen grown ups doing it. Best of all it is a great toy to encouraging sharing, playing with others and working as part of a team. Whilst many toys are still marketed specifically for boys or girls, a play kitchen is a gender neutral toy that works equally well for both genders.

 My daughter already loves our kitchen, and always wants to be in there moving things around and creating havoc. We installed a gate to keep her out of the kitchen but that hasn't diminished her love for being in there. She especially loves helping me unpack groceries, and stacking small cartons into the lower shelves. she knows exactly where we keep certain things and runs back and forth to get all the little items properly stored away. She also loves to pretend she is cooking with me, so I give her own little pot and a wooden spoon, she will drum away for hours.  Unfortunately the kitchen is not always the safest place for her, so sometimes I have to ignore her crying and lock her out. This is one of the reasons I can't wait for her to have her own little play kitchen where she can safely play as much as her heart desires.  I have also seen her playing with the toy kitchens at her daycare and know she really has a lot of fun with it.

After looking at many options out there I realized that some of the best toy kitchens are made by KidKraft. I really liked all the KidKraft kitchens I looked at but eventually narrowed down my choices to two; the Uptown kitchen and the Vintage kitchen

[1] Kid Kraft Uptown Kitchen 

Just like the name suggest the Uptown kitchen is sleek and modern.  It is quite large, so it's perfect for a child to grow with. The recommended age for this is 3yrs and up. 

KidKraft Uptown Kitchen (Espresso)
Dimensions: 42.5 x 17.1 x 41 inches

KidKraft Uptown Kitchen (Natural)

I really like all the details on this kitchen, the little chalk board on the freezer door, the water dispenser, the deep sink and rack for a dish towel. It looks like a real kitchen that I would actually buy for myself!

I also like that it is made out of wood (composite), and that there are two color options; the dark espresso or the brighter natural finish.

My main concern about the Uptown kitchen is that it might be too large for our home. I also worried that I would have to wait til my daughter was three years old to get it, since that is manufacturer's recommended age for it. However after doing more research I realized that most of the sturdier better quality kitchens have the same recommended age due to the small parts that might come detached and become a choking hazard. As long as she is supervised while playing with it she should be fine. 

I also noticed that most people who own the Uptown kitchen complain that it is a real pain in the neck to assemble, but since my husband and I both love a challenging DIY, I'm hoping this shouldn't be an issue.

[2] KidKraft Vintage Kitchen

Vintage Kitchen
Dimensions: 33 x 11.7 x 35.7 inches 

The first time I came across this kitchen was when Mrs Bee mentioned it. Her adorable son has the red version of this kitchen shown below and it was love at first sight for me. It is the cutest thing ever! Most toys and gadgets these days are focused on being as modern as possible, so its nice to see a play set that salutes the past and gives kids an idea of how things looked way back when. I really adore the retro touch of this little vintage kitchen and love the fun colors it comes in.  It is considerably smaller than the Uptown kitchen, but that can be a good thing if you have less space to accommodate it
I love everything about this sweet little kitchen, but I realize it has slightly less features than the Uptown kitchen, such as the utensil hooks, chalk board, dish towel rack and extra counter space. 

I am genuinely torn between these two kitchens but I'm aiming to make a decision before the end of the year, in order to take full advantage of all the sales and discounts out there. Many retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Costco have promotions and deals on large toys like this for the holiday season so it feels like the perfect time to buy! Wish me luck and I will post about once we buy it and assemble it!


  1. Can I just say I remember your ironing board, that red check!!! Can I also ask that when did toy kitchens get so sophisticated? These are some fab options, she would love any of these. The vintage red one at my jump start go. Loved this post! Cannot wait to read your post on which one you get. The first one is great but looks like it would need more space. All best on deciding!

    1. Thanks Marian! You can say that again, they are getting so sophisticated these days! I'll be sure to update once we decide which one to get