Wanna just buy one outright? I don’t blame you, I got tired just writing about all these awesome projects. Three super cute (gender-neutral) play kitchens on amazon are Melissa & Doug’s wooden kitchen (more compact) and Kid Craft red retro (more deluxe, also comes in turquoise!!) or this stainless set just like modern times. I also encourage you to be on the hunt in your local Craig’s List for a complete kitchen set. We scored a fab train table that way.
Ok with the slacker permission out of the way, let’s dig in!
I love a kid-sized kitchen and the creative ways that my children can stay focused with their pretend desserts and imaginary pasta dishes (while I make a real dinner they may or may not even taste). I have been soooo close to purchasing a miniature kitchen for my boys the past couple years, but something always stops me. Usually price. And the fact that they have five-days a week access to pretend stoves-and-sinks at preschool.
Here are a few DIY play kitchens as inspiration for you as you plan a big gift for your toddler:
Start from Ikea components
I spotted this DIY play kitchen by Virginia years ago, and hoped I would make it myself; it was created for less than $50 using all Ikea components. Brilliant. I already have and love the dishware from Green Toys — made from entirely recycled milk bottles obtained in California.
IKEA shopping list:
- Rast night stand (~$15)
- Panna coasters (~$2 for 6)
- Attest knobs (~$5 for 2)
- Grundtal towel bar (~$15)
- Grundtal hooks (~$4 for 5)
- Metal mixing bowl of any kind (~$3.50 on Amazon)
It turns out that IKEA-hacking your way to DIY success is totally a Thing in its own right, so see more play kitchens over here.
Start with unwanted furniture
From Young House Love, John and Sherry started with an old cabinet and about $74 to make their daughter Clara a play kitchen. They have a ton of skills with real house projects and it shows in their work. For the rest of us, cabinets and entertainment centers are still a fantastic base if you have one or can easily score one on CraigsList.
Build it all yourself
For hard-core DIY’ers, you may want to veer away from the Ikea components and pre-existing furniture and really over-achieve. If so, I salute you. Chloe’s folks from Rambling Renovators followed the instructions from Grace’s Play Stove at Ana-White.com and embellished with a magnetic hinge for the oven door and a little LED light to glow when food is cooking. The results are amazing.