Wooden play kitchens used to be the norm decades ago but in recent years plastic has become the favorite. Not only were the wood ones greener, they were durable and fun. In today’s plastic society, we are plagued with plastics everywhere—even in our children’s toys. There are alternatives; you just have to look for them!
Remember the pretend pancakes and cupcakes you made for your parents on your own kitchen set? Your child can have hours of fun doing this too and it really is a very creative and imaginative type of play…the best kind. My 4 year old daughter got a wooden play kitchen last Christmas and we put it down in the basement playroom. Unfortunately I think the location wasn’t that good because she hardly ever played with it. Recently I had hubby move it up to her bedroom and we haven’t seen her since, LOL. She spends hours playing in there now and thanks to the wonders of sound monitors I get to hear every word of that delicious play while I am in my office. Occasionally she allows me to stop by her “restaurant” and order some food but then she is on to serving her dolls again.
What’s funny is they are now mostly called “retro” play kitchen sets so when you’re searching, use those keywords! We have a pink retro play kitchen (see above). These desirable wooden kitchen sets are good for our environment and some models are enhanced by other green-friendly products—they have cloth in them as well instead of plastic inserts for stove tops burners or faucet fixtures.
With the holiday season upon us, perhaps it’s time to turn back time and give our children the durability and safe kitchen toys we played with as children before the inevitable cheap plastic sets came along. Many toy manufacturers are concerned about our environment as well and are producing sustainable wooden toys painted with earth safe dyes. After all, after your child is done with their plastic kitchen set, if you can’t recycle it to another child, it will end up in a landfill for centuries.
It should not matter that it’s cheaper or cost effective for a toy manufacturer to produce plastic toys, their children and grandchildren play in this world too and you’d think they be worried about it—but don’t fret—the demand for more green toys is being heard by some manufacturers.
Wooden building blocks and wooden play refrigerators, sinks and, stoves are seen more and more on the market each day and we have to make the conscience choice to purchase these products, especially at this time of the year; the holiday season.
Another option you have for purchasing wooden play kitchen sets it looking for them at online auctions where you may find them much cheaper than new ones. Or, go to a thrift store or yard sale and see if you can find a set for sale. My town’s Craiglist has a few.
Artisan craft fairs are a great place to find unique wooden toys and if you don’t see want you want, you can bet the wooden artisan will be happy to make it for you; wooden artisans are proud of their craftsmanship and want to pass it along to children especially.
If we don’t teach our children now, in the early years, how important it is to own and play with green wooden toys, what will their children end up with to play with? In any event, if you’ve had a wooden kitchen set as a child, you remember and know what we’re talking about, so get out there and make the extra effort to search for a wooden play kitchen set for your child this holiday season—make a difference!
Here are some of my favorites:
Red Retro Kitchen by Kidkraft – This is kinda, sorta what my daughter has but she has the bigger model and in pink. This is a one piece unit too and my daughter has separate pieces. I have seen this one in person though and it is CUTE. The design is very 1950s which I love. They also have a Prairie Kitchen set that is pretty darn cute too. The set is wood but I haven’t got any info about the finish and it does have a few plastic pieces.
My Creative Cookery Club- The all-in-one wood unit has an oven with a see-through door, cupboard or refrigerator, cook top, sink, and utensil rack. Velcro’d veggies and bread, pots and pans, and the essential salt and pepper shakers are included too. I love the natural wood and green coloring.
Maxim Wooden Kitchen Center – I just love the curtain and the rods for hanging towels. It has a very homey feel to it. Not a fan of the microwave but it is still cute. And it is blue so boys won’t be intimidated by this one.
A BEEautiful Hearth- by Camden Rose. Now this is all natural but very pricey. The kitchen is crafted with the warmth and durability of solid cherry with walnut and birch accents. Its construction cannot be compared to anything else on the market. While most play kitchens contain screws and button plugs, the Camden Rose Hearth is constructed internally with pocket-hole joinery leaving it blemish free and fine-furniture solid. The kitchen includes a stove, sink, cupboard and oven with a “see what’s cookin'” window. It has a non-toxic beeswax finish.
Check out my green toys page for some wood/cloth food options.
Monday, December 1st, 2008