In which Ariel admits a rookie parenting mistake and a major parenting win: the Cook's Corner Play Kitchen from Melissa and Doug. This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News up and running. We truly appreciate your continued support!
Cook's Corner Wooden Pretend Play Kitchen from Melissa & Doug
I was on the fence about purchasing a play kitchen. Did I have one as a kid? Yes. Did I love mine as a kid? Absolutely. But – and it’s a big but – I live in a small apartment at the moment. Where was I going to put it? So when Nana Bear and Aunt Titi offered to buy one for Christmas my first question was “But where is it going to go?” At Nana’s house of course! With that crisis averted, my next question was “Oh boy. Oh boy! Which one?” Melissa and Doug’s Cook's Corner Wooden Pretend Play Toy Kitchen.
Rookie parenting mistake though guys, we put the play kitchen together on Christmas Eve and by the time we were done we didn’t want to move it or even think about wrapping it. So we figured we would just let it be the first thing she saw when she came upstairs to open presents. Wrong! She refused to open up any presents. She was perfectly content to play with her kitchen all morning. The family skyped in to watch us unwrap her presents for her. All they got in recognition for their thoughtful gifts was a grunt and an absentminded toddler dismiss them with an “I cooking!” “Bean look what Titi got you - playdough!” “No! I cooking Mama!” Oh well. We learned.
verall I am a fan of Melissa and Doug’s Cooks Corner. Though I received this as a gift, this is the kitchen I would have chosen. I like that it leaves much up to the imagination. Compared to other play kitchens, it is a kitchenette at best. It has a sink, a cabinet under the sink that we call the refrigerator and an oven. It does not have a microwave, kitchen cabinets, an ice maker etc. It is bare bones. But for me, that is a selling point! I want toys that leave something up to the imagination. I think most play kitchens on the market are too realistic. They box in kid’s creativity with too many details. Why does my child need a tiny wooden Keurig?! Though to be fair I was tempted to purchase said tiny wooden Keurig, simply for the novelty of it. Hypocrite much?
I appreciate that the kitchenette has a whimsical color scheme and a fantastical shape. It looks to me like the kitchen you might see on the Jetsons. I didn’t at first because I am usually not a fan of the brash colors that usually adorn kids’ toys. But after a few days, it began to grow on me. Now I think the odd rounded shape and bright colors further distinguish this as a space for creative play. This isn’t your momma’s kitchen. So if you want a miniature version of the kitchen in your house; this kitchenette is not for you.
The only real downside to Melissa and Doug’s Cooks Corner is a lack of attention to details. This kitchenette is less expensive than most out there. For the price, we received a quality item that will last through all of my children. Though by child number 3 or 4 it may be held together with super glue and duct tape. But I expect more from big purchases. Paying more attention to the little things, such as exposed screw holes would have taken this play kitchen to the next level! At the moment all of the screw holes are open and visible, not in an obnoxious way. With a better design, most of the screw holes could have been hidden or at least placed in far less noticeable areas. If that were the case, this product would have been 5 eggs easily. However, even though it is my child’s current obsession, I have to give it only 4 eggs. There is room for improvement.
I think the main reason the screw holes bother me is that the designers paid so much attention to other parts, that this minor flaw stands out even more to me. For example, the instructions were hilarious! They were not only detailed and incredibly easy to use, but full of puns and references that had me giggling. Now granted I had a few glasses of mulled wine as I was constructing, but even looking back over the instructions - which I saved for posterity - they still put a smile on my face! Why put the time and effort in to write memorable instructions, but leave exposed screw holes? I simply cannot wrap my head around it.
One minor word of caution. If you plan on purchasing numerous accessories for the play kitchen you may need to invest in storage solutions. Though, to be fair, most parents don’t plan on acquiring so many toys it just sorta happens! It is great that the Cook’s Kitchen is bare bones except that this limits storage options. So either you need to be ruthless when it comes to culling the toy population or you need to put your thinking cap on and come up with some creative storage solutions. We received the Melissa and Doug Food Groups, the Melissa and Doug Food Fun Combine and Dine Dinners Set, the Melissa and Doug Fridge Food Play Set, and the Melissa and Doug Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Set as presents to go along with the kitchenette. We are about tapped out for storage until I go on an organization rampage at Target.
Though I love our Melissa and Doug Cook’s Corner, if I ever come into a windfall of cash I will be purchasing the Community Playthings Kitchen Set which can be bought as a set or as individual pieces. I still have the table and chairs from Community Play Things that both my sister and her two children and now me and my children have used. And they are in amazing shape! So if you have the money and are looking to invest in big-ticket items that can be passed down from generation to generations, I recommend looking into Community Play Things. They are sure to deliver the "wow" experience.
How about you, is there a play kitchen in your kids future? Let us know in the comments down below!
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Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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