Our New Play Kitchen

We had a plastic Step 2 play kitchen that I bought second hand for our playroom but I’ve been trying to move toward more open ended toys and activities with a bit of a Waldorf touch.  The kids didn’t play with the Step 2 kitchen much and the cupboards and fridge were so small.  Kids love kitchen play because it’s something they see us grownups do every day.  It is important to get your children helping you in the real kitchen but I believe that imaginative play is important too.  I sold the play kitchen I had, it went quite quickly as Christmas was coming up and I hope it made another little child very happy.  Next I had to decide which kitchen to get.  At first I was thinking of getting a Kidkraft kitchen.

I really liked this one.  It had everything, even a little washing machine and would make a little house corner in the playroom.  But it did seen kinda small when you look at it in relation to that boy and it just seemed to be too much going on.  I wanted simpler, something that didn’t do everything yet was beautiful.  Then I found Elves and Angels.  It is a family owned company out of Maine that has been crafting natural wood products for 25 years.  I decided to go with Sylvie’s kitchen as I wanted something a little larger so it would last as my Pumpkins got older and taller but I wanted to see what the kids thought.  I showed 3 of my daycare children separately the two kitchens and asked them which they liked better.  The children were ages 3, 5 and 9.  I thought for sure they’d pick the KidKraft kitchen but they all were very definite that they liked the Elves and Angels kitchen best.

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Julianna at Elves and Angels was great to work with.  I was able to purchase from Canada and though shipping wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.  And I got it at my door in just a week’s time.

I debated not getting the ice box but I’m really glad I did because Pumpkin 1 loves it and was trying to play with it as I put it together.

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The counter on the kitchen is just the right height, Pumpkin 1 who is 2 years old and a little tall for her age can easily play on it but there’s still room to grow.  I’m glad I purchased the larger kitchen as it has a little counter space and the shelves are lovely.

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It was super easy to put together.  I did it all myself with Pumpkin 2 watching from his high chair and Pumpkin 1 “helping”.  It took just over an hour to put the two together.  It’s made from Northern white pine with a linseed oil finish and formaldehyde-free Baltic birch plywood backing.  The quality is excellent and it’s so beautiful  It’s truly heirloom quality.  The only down side is it’s pine (they do have hardwood options for more money) so it will dent and scratch and the hinges snap back a little quickly but it’s not a big deal. I’m so happy with my purchase.  Now to save up for a doll house for Pumpkin 1’s 3rd birthday.

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Yes, she has a bow on her head, lol.

Yes, she has a bow on her head, lol.

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Waldorf Style Rocker Board Review

I was so excited to give this gift to my daughter (and son, though he’s only 6 months) for Hanukkah.  I didn’t even have to show Pumpkin 1 how to use it, she figured out right away how to make it rock.  “Wee wee, wee weee” she did it for quite a while.  I turned it over and she then had fun sliding down it.

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These are amazing, open ended toys that will give your child hours of fun.  Too often in Montessori we focus on the fine motor skills, but the gross motor skills are important too, especially for preschoolers.  A rocker board, also called a moon board or a balance board, is a great way for children to develop their balance and gross motor skills.  In the winter we don’t get outside to play as much as we should and so I was looking for ways for Pumpkin 1 to be active indoors.  The board can be a slide, a chair, a bed, a teeter-totter, a bridge, a cradle, a boat, a wall, the imagination is endless.  And it’ll grow with your child.  It’s a toy all ages will love (I even tried it out myself 😉 ).

My little gypsy crawling under it.

My little gypsy crawling under it.

A good place for a nap

A good place for a nap

Pumpkin 1’s favourite is to make it a bed (she’s all about pretending to sleep) and I have to rock it and sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

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Row, row, row your boat

The board is made from plywood laminated into a curve and can withstand 145lbs of pressure.  The boards’ edges are all rounded and they are finished with either a scratch resistant polyurethane varnish or a natural, non-toxic shellac varnish.  I choose the shellac finish.  It’s very sturdy and durable and will last for years and years.

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This is one toy you won’t regret purchasing.  If you google it you’ll see tons of excellent reviews for rocker boards.  And here’s the great news.  Tim at “The Carpenter’s Son’s Apprentice” is offering a discount to my readers!  He’s got a wonderful online store http://www.thecarpenterssonsapprentice.ca/index.html  He is really great to purchase from with amazing customer service and fast shipping. This is a bonus for my Canadian readers as I haven’t seen these boards available anywhere else in Canada and shipping from the U.S. is expensive.  He also ships to the U.S. for my American readers.  There’s still time to have it for Christmas if you hurry.  Here’s the link for the promo:  http://www.thecarpenterssonsapprentice.ca/Store/Store-MoonRockers-PumpkinsPromo.html