When the folks at VTech sent us their new 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset for review in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house), I had some mixed feelings about it. We already have toy kitchens, and we already have toy shopping carts. But this one is different... a transformer of sorts that combines two toys in one, while bringing into the mix the electronic learning element that VTech is famous for. After having ours for nearly a month, the time has come to share some thoughts with all of you.
Right out of the box, I was impressed by the fact that assembly was quick and easy, with no tools required aside from a screwdriver to open the battery door. Five minutes (if that) and the playset was ready to go. The other immediate thing was that I noticed that the set it made of quality plastic. I know that might sound vague - but at this point, I can just tell. We see a lot of toys come through here, and there's a huge different in the types of plastics used - this one is good.
Getting right into playtime, my wife and I both took note of the included accessories - a wide array of little foods. They're just the right size for little hands, and that's something often said but seldom 100% accurate. When we get a toy with a ton of add-ons, there's usually a couple that end up getting stashed-away in a cabinet full of "choking hazards." Not the case with this set.
While this is definitely geared more toward my youngest (15-months as of this writing), my four-year-old digs it as well. The electronic features do a great job of walking kids "through the process" of making a meal or doing some shopping, giving kids some goal-based actions that have proven to be a lot of fun. Additionally, the music is a big hit.
The Rock Father Rating: 4/5 Stars
FTC Disclosure: Product has been provided to The Rock Father for the purpose of review consideration. All opinions are that of James Zahn with input from his children. Agree with them - they're usually right.
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.