Best Toy Kitchen for the Money - Step 2 Grand Walk-In Kitchen
Step 2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen
Step 2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen Ratings
Importance of Pretend Play
Pretend play is essential for each child's development. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, in the first five years of life, a child's brain develops more rapidly than any other time in their life.
By age five, a child has developed 85% of their personality, intellect, and skillset. The way a child's brain develops is directly correlated to the type of interaction and stimulation they have in their formative years.
That is why pretend play is so important in the early stages of a child's life. One of the best ways to encourage pretend play is with a play kitchen or toy kitchen set.
We have two small children under the age of five and have had several toy kitchens throughout their life (including the Dora Fiesta Favorites Play Kitchen and the My First Kitchen). None of which, have impressed us as much, or have been worth the money, as much as the Step 2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen.
Best Play Kitchen
The Step 2 Grand Walk-In Kitchen has many positive qualities and features. Some of the things we liked about the product were:
- Realistic & Functional
- For all ages
- Plenty of Play Space
- Value for the Price
One of the most important toy characteristics for us, is the durability of the product. We have a little boy that is a virtual tornado sometimes and can be a lot rougher on toys than his older sister. We have had the Step 2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen for 3 years and it still looks the same as the day we bought it.
The kitchen is made of heavy duty plastic and will actually hold his weight when he is standing on the bar or climbing one of the posts. (Note: Standing on the bar is not recommended). Although, he is not allowed to climb on the kitchen, as a mom I take comfort in knowing that if, and when he disobeys, the toy kitchen is not going to be broken, nor is it going to fall over on top of him.
In addition to the toy being durable, we wanted a quality toy play kitchen. Especially, for the price. The Step 2 Grand Walk-In Kitchen is made with thick quality materials. The "wood" flooring isn't flimsy and hasn't so much as scuffed or torn in the three years we have had it. It has lasted not only our two kids, but their friends, and our two dogs.
Realistic & Functional
When you purchase a play kitchen, you expect it to look like a kitchen and act like a kitchen. The Step 2 Grand Walk-In kitchen does both. The appliances not only look like appliances, but they function. The doors open and close, the knobs turn, the microwave and stove make realistic sounds. There are upper and lower cabinets to store dishes, food, and spices.
Plenty of Space to Play
With the three sided design, the Step 2 Grand Walk-In kitchen provides plenty of play space in and around the kitchen. We have had three kids in the kitchen at the same time without fighting for space. The two countertop areas provide a place to cook and to serve food to pretend patrons.
Value for the Price
The Step 2 Grand Walk-in Kitchen usually retails for between $239 and $259. Some parents may argue that this is too expensive for a play kitchen toy. I will admit that this toy kitchen is not cheap. However, when I compare it to the $100 or $150 we spent on the other toy kitchens that broke, didn't function, or just didn't allow for multi-child play, the Grand Walk-in Kitchen was well worth the money.
None of the other play kitchens that we tried lasted a year. Since we have had our Grand Walk-In Kitchen for 3 years, it has already paid for itself in comparison. We expect the kitchen to last through our children and be able to donate to another family or daycare for them to use as well.
Best Play Kitchen for the Money
We didn't really find too many negative things about the Step 2 Grand Walk-in kitchen. We love most everything about it. But here are a few things, we think could be improved:
- Semi-Difficult Setup
- Decals/Sticker Application
- Storage Space
One of the only negative things we can say about this product, was the setup and it wasn't really that bad. It was more irritating than difficult. The holes are not pre-drilled, so you need a strong hand or a battery powered screwdriver to tighten the screws.
When you get to the last few instructions where you have to put all the sides together, you need two people. All in all, it took about an 1-1.5 hours to put together (including stickers).
Putting the decals and stickers on is time consuming. It would be nice if the stickers were already on the pieces before assembly.
Another area that could be improved is the storage space. The Step 2 Grand Walk-In Kitchen comes with 100 pieces, including play food and utensils. The cupboards are not large enough to hold all the pieces. We use some green baskets on a shelf next to the kitchen to hold the majority of the play food and utensils.
It would also be nice if there was two stools instead of just one.
Conclusion: To Buy or Not to Buy
Overall, we are extremely satisfied with our Step 2 Grand Walk-In kitchen and would not only recommend buying one for your children, school, or daycare but I would also purchase this product again for someone.
Step 2 Grand Walk-In Kitchen: Definite Buy
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