Playing house is probably the most fun thing in the world for a toddler or preschooler. With the possible exception of dinosaurs. But hey, the dinosaurs can play in the kitchen too, combining all levels of awesomeness! And yes, boys love to play kitchen too. How do you think Mario Batali and Jamie Oliver got started?*
But really, do you want to spend $100-$200 on plastic?
You can make your own play kitchen with recyclable materials for far less, and without having to build it from scratch. You could even involve your preschooler in the plans and production.
Here are some examples:
Repurposed end table
repurposed end/side table
repurposed entertainment center
If you’re in a hurry, you should be able to find everything at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore – furniture, fixtures, paint and more. If you have more time, then Craigslist, Freecycle & thrift stores will undoubtedly turn up everything you need.**
While you can probably find enough stuff around your house or donations from friends, I can totally understand if you want to pick up some new toys to put in your play kitchen. In which case, consider a tea set made from and packaged in recycled materials.
*I actually have no idea whether Mario or Jamie ever played “kitchen” as kids. I just know from my 20+ years working with children that (a) both boys & girls like playing with kitchen toys a whole lot, and (b) none of them have caught cooties as a result of it.
**Requisite disclaimer: I do not have any ties to any of these businesses. I just really like making stuff and playing with kitchen toys, kid-sized or for grown-ups.