Stocking A Play Kitchen

Hello All! I’m still on vacation but in the meantime I wanted to share something I plan to start working on when I get back. I do have to make some new pants and they are getting priority, but this is another little craft I’ll be slowly working on in my free time.

As you may remember I mentioned I’m moving in January. My current apartment has a very tiny galley kitchen and we have a baby gate in the entryway (it’s seriously that tiny, we have a gate designed to work in a doorway blocking the entire entryway). The new house will have a huge open kitchen. It looks great, but it’s not ideal with a toddler running through the place. I do not want my son anywhere near the oven or range while I’m cooking. I plan to put down some painters tape and teach him never to cross those lines, but it would also be helpful to have something to distract him. So I’m planning on buying him a play kitchen. He’ll be the perfect age for it when we move, a smidge over two. He enjoys playing “picnic” with his little leapfrog picnic basket and he really loved the Melissa & Doug wooden vegetable set (it’s one of the ones with velcro so you can “chop” the veggies!). In fact he’s been playing with just an empty bowl and fork while I write this. He’s totally into pretend food right now and I don’t see him suddenly losing interest.

He really liked the Pottery Barn kitchen set in the past and was playing with it the other day while we were in store. I’ve debated purchasing it but I’m probably going to just go with a Kidcraft set off of Amazon. They have some great ones that are very gender neutral. Costco has a Kidcraft one for $100 (very decent price) but it’s pink and flowery. A little ridiculous if you ask me. Especially when you consider most top chefs are male, and it’s a very male dominated field. But nope, if you’re playing house you must be a girl. It infuriates me to no end. House play stuff should be gender neutral because both boys and girls live in houses and like to imitate their parents. And with the rise in stay at home dads it’s a little insulting that the message that’s still being sent to children through their toys is that it’s only okay for girls/women to do laundry and cook dinner. So I’ll be getting him a cool set that any kid would like, they even have some with stainless steel appliances! But what to stock the kitchen with?

I had a gift certificate and a big honking coupon for Pottery Barn, so we bought that wooden vegetable set, as well as a few other toys. But he’ll still need little things like pots and pans, utensils, and of course extra food and storage. I plan to pick up these great sets from Ikea.

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If you click on the images they’ll take you to Ikea where you can look at the product info. But basically they’re child size cooking things and each set is $10. That’s fine by me since I really don’t want to spend more than $2 per item for this kitchen. If I can get it under a dollar an item though I’ll be even happier. My goal is to do this for as little as possible. Simply because in doing that it forces me to be even more creative and as a result I can be sure my son ends up with a kitchen stash no one else will have. It will also force me to recycle more and that’s always a good thing! The recycling will also allow for a bit more creativity and I love doing projects, so it’s a bit of a present for me as well. 😀

Since I have from now until January to do this I’m going to start keeping an eye out for things I can repurpose, or that are super duper cheap. I actually found some awesome things today! I took my son on a walk and we had some things we needed to get at Target. While there I came across these plastic containers in the dollar section.

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Each one comes as a set of two and costs $1, so thats fifty cents a piece! Not too shabby. 🙂 They also had these in black but I figured white would be easier to work with and less likely to show scuffs over time. These are tiny and the perfect size to hold play kitchen supplies, I can see myself adding a bit of washi tape to jazz them up and maybe some of those chalkboard labels so we’ll know what’s on special at Chez Chicken Little! Now these aren’t the sturdiest of plastic containers, the rectangle ones are a smidge thin (the ovals actually aren’t bad at all) but I’m positive they’ll hold up to quite a bit of play. Just so long as my son doesn’t use them as step stools…

I’m forever getting gifts with purchase and that means I have more than my fair share of tiny little bottles in both deluxe trial size and travel size. That’s fine though, they’ll make perfect “condiment” containers!

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These are just a small sampling of some of the tiny bottles and containers I have laying around. Right now they don’t look like much. But removing the labels, and adding a bit of decorative tape, contact paper, stickers, and new labels will change that. I’ve been known to glue shut my empty cosmetics and I’ll probably do that with some of the tiny caps. It might also be fun to add a bit of water, glycerin, and glitter to some of the bottles before I seal them. E600 glue works best in my experience. I’ve used that on some empty Eos lip balms and an empty mascara tube and I can put them trough the dishwasher without them coming apart. It just melts the plastic together so I’m not worried about leakage.

My husband also likes Wet One’s and any house with babies and kids is usually overflowing with empty wipes containers. I think they’ll be perfect for various food storage as well. I may start looking for products that come in nifty containers. Usually I buy things once (like hand soap or wipes) and then just get refills. But I might want to buy things just for the package for a bit. It’s an inexpensive way to get some extra containers.

Condiments and such aside, this kitchen will also need food. What good is a syrup bottle if you have no pancakes to “pour” your syrup over, right? When I get back it’ll be the second week of October, that means all the bolts of cool Halloween fabric will pretty much be gone- but the remnant bin will be full! All those crazy fabrics in small quantities, at discounted prices -they’re calling to me. Play food doesn’t use much fabric and having a crazy variety on hand will ensure a variety of foods. I’ll probably also buy some felt, but I’m hoping for lots of different textures. And the remnant bin is easier to search if you’re looking for lots of little bits of different stuff. Not that I’m opposed to going through the entire store touching everything, but there’s no real need. Besides I don’t want the ladies behind the cutting counter hating me when I come up asking for 12″ of thirty different fabrics. We need to maintain a good working relationship.

The stuffing is probably going to be the most expensive thing (and it’s not really avoidable for some things). So I’m going to keep an eye out for things like clearance pillows and such. Maybe take up some of the stuffing space with unconventional things likes plastic beads, to give certain things weight and a fun feel. Like pumpkins, cause pumpkins should be “heavy”. It’ll also look cool if I make things like tea bags. I saw some where they used rice or something and you could sort of see the dark “tea leaves” under the white fabric, it was pretty cool.

There are some great tutorials online and even some patterns for felt food. Here’s one site that has a ton.

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This site, American Felt & Craft has dozens of tutorials for felt food. They also offer free patterns and I haven’t really looked around much (save to pin a ton of tutorials) but I believe they also sell the supplies to make them. They’re also a great resource if you’re looking to learn a bit of hand sewing. They have graphics  showing how to do many of the stitches they show in their tutorials. So check them out if you need a brush up or are learning for the first time. For me I know how to sew and I’m really just after inspiration photos. But I’ll never say no to a free template, or twelve!

My mother sent me this pin

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I love this sushi set. There are lots of different food images out there. Tutorials and templates are nice, but for the most part you don’t really need them.

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This pasta set was on Etsy going for $20. The seller seems to be making doll clothes now but even still, $20 is pretty steep for a piece of felt cut into strips and a few rectangles sewn together. I have a mat and rotary cutter and I’ve been meaning to pick up some pinking shears, but this is something anyone could make. Even someone with no sewing experience since some of these don’t require sewing and the rest can be done by hand with a few simple stitches. I’ll be making my son a variety of pasta shapes, and have plans to also make “sauce”. Pancakes are a pretty popular felt food and the syrup is basically two pieces cut out in a random shape and sewn together, I’ll be making my sauce the same way. Here’s an idea of that that looks like.

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This image is from Fiskars website and they’re one piece pancakes. They have the templates and tutorial for free, but are advertising their products in the tutorial. No matter, you can still use the tutorial even if you don’t buy their stuff (although lets be honest, everyone already uses Fiskar).

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I’m enamored with these sugar cookies. I love that the person who made them actually took the time to hand bead them, it really makes the sprinkles look real! There’s a lot of love in these cookies, that’s for sure. I’ll probably be doing the same. Although you can totally do this with just a bit of embroidery thread as well, it’s a great way to add variety and practice your French knots! If you buy a variegated thread you’ll only need one or two skeins! Further keeping them on budget as a single skein usually runs around thirty five cents.

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These are sugar snow peas but they could totally double as edamame. Perfect for the little chef who wants to offer up a healthy appetizer or a stir fry!

There are just so many food options and there are plenty of images to inspire you on Pintrest and the web in general. You really don’t need a tutorial to make any of them, just the image alone should suffice many are so simplistic. I mean has bacon ever been this easy to make? I think not! So I’ll be keeping an eye out for containers I can reuse as food storage and such. I’ll also be making little foods here and there, and you can be sure I’ll share the process and any little tricks I may have found to make things go faster or easier. I suspect many of these will come together very quickly and a person could create an entire entree in a single evening while front of the TV.

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8 thoughts on “Stocking A Play Kitchen

  1. I really like those little sets from Ikea. Not sure I’m crafty enough myself to pull off the cloth food but I might know some people who are. Really good list of resources. Thank you

    • Believe it or not, you really don’t need to be crafty to pull this off. Anyone with basic hand sewing skills could make any number of the things I show here. It would actually be a good project for older kids (maybe 7) to learn on. Felt doesn’t fray, it’s easy to hold, and a running stitch or blanket stitch is easy to master. They also don’t need to be perfect, it’s part of their charm. No one makes perfect pancakes IRL, so if yours are sewn a bit uneven just trim the excess and move on to the next.

      Admittedly I do do a lot of advanced projects and I don’t give it a second thought. There were quite a few kids (and adults) who mistook me for the real Anna during the Disney Halloween party. Even the real Anna’s jaw dropped. But I try to remember not everyone can look at an image and recreate it exactly. So I share little projects like these. Things anyone of any skill level can pull off and feel great about themselves. I do hope you give these felt foods a try. I promise they’re not hard! I’ve already made a few and while not perfect, they’re super cute and I’ll be posting photos when I get home. 🙂

  2. I don’t know if you’re still looking for mini cookware etc., but Tupperware makes some cute mini’s like a baking set and serving sets. When I was little, I LOVED playing with that stuff. And even better, these days all Tupperware is BPA free. If you have trouble finding the items, I even know a person who sells them and I have seen a set in shades of blue, which means they aren’t designed just for girls.

    • I wasn’t aware Tupperware sold such sets, I’ll have to look into it! Thanks for letting me know. I actually fell really behind on making a lot of my felt food. I do have a bunch made up and even a bunch of photos to do a tutorial on here, but I’ve not had enough time to write a proper post. I need to make this blog more of a priority. I can’t wait until after our move, I’m going to have so much more space for my crafting! In my experience when I don’t have to clear everything away at the end of the night, things tend to get finished faster. So once I have my own crafting space again this stuff will just sew itself.

      • After one of your replies, I finally got around to getting over to Daiso…wow, I was in heaven with their stationery supplies and got every one of their mini sticky notes sets! =P And gosh, everything in that store is SO lovely and colorful and happy…I never knew! I wanted every stationery item they had, but you have to be careful because even at 1.50, it adds up. I was also curious what general area you were moving to? It has sounded like you are on the West coast like me, in Washington. (I just moved too and getting to know this area.)

        So something even funnier happened after I went to Daiso…I stopped by Goodwill. But the funny part is as I was looking through the crafting area, I spotted like three sets of cute felt food! I was thinking, “how weird is that!” after just reading your blog! They were nice, and each one was like a dollar. I even said to my other half, that if I knew you any better, I would grab them and mail to you. lol I think one was a taco set. Anyway, I just thought that was weird.

        One of the things that caught my eye about your blog, was your eclectic mix in tastes, your love of planners, and the fact that you like ballet, etc. I don’t feel so weird now. =) And one more note, like I said, if you are interested in those kiddie Tupperware pieces, I know someone, specifically my other half’s mother, who sells it. =) Which is kind of cool because as a kid, my mother sold it. Anyway, I have blabbered enough, and thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

      • I’m so glad you had fun there! Isn’t it just the best store ever? I was there again tonight, I needed some things to keep my feet from sliding in my shoes and some coasters. I got them for a fair price and they’re cute to boot! Not every location is the same, I think my local store has the better stationary department. I am on the West Coast as well, and in WA too! I’ve been here since 1/1/14 and it really feels like home now. I’m so glad we made the move, I really feel like I belong here.

        That is kind of crazy, and thank you for thinking of me! I never go in there, my husband is freaked out by those places and I truly have no idea why. I shopped second hand for so many years. Partly because it’s cheap, but also cause it’s fun. You never know what you’re going to find, and I’ve found some pretty cool stuff over the years. IDK, I guess he just grew up differently. All I know is that once my kid is older (and in school so he can’t narc on me) I’m going back, lol. For now I just stick with Etsy and call it “vintage”. 😉

        I’ll admit, I’m always doing something different and I tend to be all over the place. There are some things that are constant. I love to sew and always have, and I’ve always wanted to take ballet. Mostly I’m into über girly things, hence the ballet, makeup, and washi taped everything, lol. But yeah, I’m a bit scattered. I know people say blogs should only ever cover one subject but that’s just so not me. And I really don’t care if my blog is only ever relevant to me and me alone. I figure if even a single post in interesting to one person then I’m doing okay! My ballet and sewing posts get the most hits, but the gluten free Disney dining ones got a TON of traffic over the summer (makes sense). So I know I’m helping/entertaining some people. 🙂

        I will definitely keep you in mind for the Tupperware set. I really haven’t decided what I want to get just yet. I know the Melissa and Doug pan will fit into the particular kitchen I have my eye on. So I might just go with that. As for the utensils I’m still thinking. I do have a bunch that I’m considering replacing because they’re good not great quality. I bought them when we moved here knowing they’d be temporary cause once we bought a house I’d probably want different colors. So my son might inherit those. Makes me feel less wasteful. 🙂 I do like the idea of plastic stuff though since the new place has hardwood floors and metal tools might scratch them.

        And don’t worry about “blabbering on”. No one will ever be more long winded than I am! And I always try to get back to people as soon as I can so don’t mention it. 🙂

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