My son has been playing pretend lately, and it is adorable.
He’s had play food for awhile, and this past Christmas we got him a neat wooden toaster. I’ve been slowly starting to build up the stuff for a play kitchen.
I’ve seen so many neat ideas online for how to make one, especially the ones that repurpose things likes nightstands or entertainment centers. Originally I had wanted to make him one last fall, but didn’t find anything that would work (that, and I had a baby in the summer, so I had a lot on my plate).
I had told my husband about my plans, and then even suggested we just buy him a nice one for Christmas. Then he was all, “No, I’ll make him one from scratch!” Okay, great. So he took my son to Lowes, and they picked out some stuff to make it, and he started in on it, and then it was something that he said he’d finish in the spring. Fair enough. Winter isn’t the best time for sawing and sanding and whatnot.
Well, over the winter my son’s imagination really took off. He started to pretend to make us food and fetch us coffee. I wanted that darn play kitchen, but decided I could hold out a bit longer. And now it’s “spring” except that it’s still snowy and it’s the worst freaking spring ever. I am stir crazy. And, not to be mean, but I also know that there’s a good chance my husband will continue to put off this project for a good long time… and that I will spend this fall repurposing a piece of furniture so the kids get a nice wooden play kitchen for Christmas. (I’m not being a pessimist, it’s just that I asked him to hang a shelf in our son’s room last Mother’s Day, and last week I finally brought the shelf to Goodwill. Apparently 11 months was my threshold for hope.)
I got the itch just to make some sort of play kitchen to hold us over. I saw some cool ideas online where people used cardboard boxes. But we don’t have any that are suitable, and I also worried about it caving in the first time my son tries to climb on it, or a stray football hit it. It dawned on me while I was putting some cloth diapers in a storage bin in my daughter’s room… the bin would work perfectly for this project.
In my usual fashion, as soon as I got the idea in my head to make a stand-in play kitchen, I had to DO IT NOW. I also decided that I wanted to do it only with things that I already had on hand. This is just a stand-in play kitchen until I’m able to get the nice one that I have been yearning for, so I wanted to spend exactly $0 out of pocket for it.
Here’s the result!
Here’s what I used:
- a Sterilite storage bin (56 qt.)
- a melamine bowl
- a hand sanitizer pump
- wooden blocks
- felt & marker for the burners
- 2 caps from baby food pouches
- hot glue gun
- washi tape
This was about the easiest thing ever to assemble. I used hot glue to put the pump top into a block that had a hole in it, to help stabilize it and give it a bit more lift so it was above the bowl better. I cut circles of felt and drew a swirl on them for the stove burners… I would have used black felt but I was out. I originally used jar lids, but my son ripped them off right away, so I figured I’d go with Plan B for those (I had debated the two options prior to making this). I left space toward the back of the surface, for “food prep” or to put the toaster or whatever.
You could use a million different household objects to put this together. Milk jug or bottle lids could be used for knobs. A pie tin would have made a great sink bowl. I had recently purged our kitchen, so I was a bit more limited on what to use. And I don’t make pies.
I used washi tape on the front just to give the impression of a cabinet and an oven.
Here’s a closer look at the sink… I used H & C wooden blocks for hot/cold knobs.
Now, I just used hot glue to attach everything. You could certainly get fancy and attach them in a better way. I have been reminding my son to be careful and just pretend to turn the knobs. If anything pops off, a few seconds with the hot glue gun will fix it up. When we’re done, I can pop everything off of there and use the tote for something else.
The best part? You can store all your play food, dishes, utensils, etc. right inside.
Also, it’s so portable. I love the idea of a play kitchen inside of your actual kitchen. Our kitchen won’t allow for that, unfortunately, so it will be nice to be able to bring this in there if he wants to pretend to cook while we’re cooking. Although, he’d much rather make a mess right there with us, of course. 😉
Total cost of the project: $0. Awesome.