Last year for Christmas Santa brought our then 2 ½ year old a play kitchen and a few things to go along with it. After a lot of research and talking to friends with children we finally decided to take the leap and commit to a play kitchen. My biggest hesitation was the space it would require; there are a wide variety of kitchens out there and most of them have a large footprint. The number one factor that changed my mind was the long term utility of the play kitchen. Everyone I spoke to said the same thing; their children played with the kitchen more frequently and until a later age than I expected. A key determining factor for any of our large gear or toy purchases is the lifespan of the item; based on my initial research I thought the play kitchen would have a long lifespan.
Now that I was more open to the notion of a play kitchen the research began and there was a lot out there! We ended up purchasing a kitchen on the larger side, which I know sounds contradictory to my original concern about space. My reasoning was (with few exceptions) whatever we choose was going to be a freestanding piece of furniture and not something that could be put away. Once we hit that level of space requirement the exact size of the kitchen mattered less. I eventually settled on the KidKraft Uptown Kitchen.
I chose this kitchen because of its reviews for durability and because of its size. Other reviews stated the relatively high counter height allowed their children to continue to use the kitchen as they got older. Additionally, it is large enough to allow more than 1 child to play with it simultaneously. These were all big selling features for me, and now that we own it I would completely agree with them.
The other feature that drew me to this kitchen was the aesthetic of it. The aesthetic is not always an important feature for us but in this case I felt it was. Since we move every few years we are hoping to use this kitchen for years to come. Our current house has a devoted play area now but I would be comfortable setting this kitchen up in our living room in our next house.
All of us (little one included) could not have been happier with the kitchen and the accessories we purchased to go with it.
Along with the kitchen we got a few things to get started. The first was the Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Wash and Dry Dish Set. This fits so well in the kitchen you would have thought it was made for it. In the cabinet directly under the sink there is a pull out shelf. This drying rack fits on the self perfectly. I didn’t know this when I purchased it, but I would recommend to anyone getting this kitchen to get this drying rack to go with it.
We also got her the Melissa & Doug Wooden Sandwich-Making Set. Again the box this came in fit perfectly on the shelf in the fridge. It’s about ½ inch smaller than the self on all sides, allowing it to be easily pulled out while keeping the food contents in the box instead of rolling off the self. Oh yeah and the food too! The Melissa & Doug Wooden Sandwich-Making Set, like all the Melissa & Doug food is great, durable, easy for little hands to handle, and perfectly available for creative play.
She also received the Melissa & Doug Birthday Party Cake & Melissa & Doug Pizza Party. It’s almost like some of her family members knew what Santa was going to bring her! Both of these are great for creative play and we often have parties with them. They are also great for cooking in her new oven. And almost as important at the food, the pizza box fits in the kitchen fridge perfectly!
The couple Christmases prior to making the leap to a full kitchen our little one had received some play food and dishes which were then integrated into her new kitchen. We had the Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set, Melissa & Doug Cutting Food, and the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Kitchen Accessory Set. The food is of course great just like the sandwich set. The dishes are also perfectly sized for this kitchen. The other nice feature about all these sets is they come with their own utensils so you don’t have to buy any separately.
When I see it all spelt out like this, she really has a pretty complete kitchen. And another upside to the size of the kitchen is the amount of storage it allows. All of the above toys are stored within the kitchen and there is still storage space unused and plenty of room to play.
KidKraft Uptown Natural Kitchen Cons:
Assembly – This was not originally included because I don’t remember the assembly being that bad. My husband insists that’s because I was sitting on the floor with a glass of wine while he did all the assembly. (There might be some truth to that.) So instead of telling you about the assembly I’ve just included a picture, you can decide. Recommend adding wine (and some else to do the assembly), it helps the process dramatically.
Counter Space – There’s not a lot of free counter space to cut things if you have food that allows for that. This is true for most kitchens however, so it did not deter us from purchasing this kitchen. We ended up getting a Melissa & Doug Wooden Table and 2 Chairs Set to go with the kitchen, which I’m really happy with. Our little one uses the table as often as the kitchen. If she is making something in the kitchen she’s also setting the table to eat it.