With the Holiday season fast-approaching, it's time to start looking ahead to some of the cool toys that are starting to hit retail for Fall. Sure, some Scrooges may resist the "creep" of the season, but reality shows us that a lot of families are starting their Holiday shopping earlier, and that means that some are starting to consider things right now. Play kitchens have long-been one of the "bigger" items that kids tend to dig, and this year, my friends at Step2 are rolling out several new models, one of which arrived here for evaluation in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (in this case, our family room). The Step2 Lil' Chef's Gourmet Kitchen is being sold as a Toys "R" Us Exclusive this season, available in both gender-neutral and pink color schemes. My girls have had theirs for a month, so it's time to share some thoughts...
When I found out that one of these would be headed our way, the reaction here at Rock Father HQ was mixed. We already had a kitchen for the girls - one that's served us well since Addie (now 4) first received it as a Christmas gift in Year Two. It's been used daily ever since, and Little Finley (15 months) had taken to it as well, and that raised questions: What would happen if a newer version of a beloved toy arrived here? Would it be viewed as a replacement? What would the girls think if we took one away... since space for two kitchens is not an option? What would set it apart?
The big answer: Contemporary features and more room for growth.
Where our first, smaller kitchen looks and feels more like a toy for toddlers, this new kitchen from Step2 expands upon it with it's size and modern features that reflect Mom and Dad's real-life kitchen. These are things that kids notice... like the recycling bin and reusable shopping bag. A lot of things say "packed with features," but I'm calling this one for actually being packed with features. Here's some of what this kitchen has to offer...
- Oven (with sound)
- Stove with two burners (one has lights & sound)
- Coffee Pot with "Coffee Pods"
- Recycling Bin
- Reusable "green" shopping bag
- 2 Storage Bins
- Sink with moving knobs and faucet
- Phone (with sound)
- Clock with movable hands
- Dish Cabinets with see-through doors
- Hooks for utensils
- Accessory Kit: Pots & Pans, Dishes, Utensils, Food, Pot Holder, Salt & Pepper Grinders and more
In talking "modern" and "contemporary," the biggest hit on this kitchen is the coffee maker - undoubtedly inspired by Keurig and the K-cup system (which Daddy uses several times a day here at HQ). In addition to having a single-serving coffee pot, there's a nice area above for storage of the three included "coffee pods."
Utilizing a children's table that we already had, we've created a fine little kitchen nook in which the girls can play. And play daily they do. Check out some video...
And some photos...
Being that we're already big Step2 fans here, and having purchased many of their products aside from the ones we get to enjoy as a part of my gig as a 2013 Test Drive Blogger, it's usually hard to decide on a final rating. But this is an exception in that my highest rating is bestowed upon products that I can't think of a way to make any better. With all the features, quality, and fun packed into the Step2 Lil' Chef's Gourmet Kitchen at a price of less than $130, there's no way for me to avoid giving this a full-on five-star rating. Rock Father-Approved!
The Rock Father Rating: 5/5 Stars - Flawless Victory!
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About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent) Blogger, has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.