A few weeks ago I scored an awesome play kitchen for Jack on freecycle. If you don't already use freecycle - you need to! It's kind of like craigslist, but everything is 100% free. You can send out emails saying you're looking for something, or have something to get rid of. I've scored nearly new toddler rain boots ($20 at Target), an almost new pair of snowpants that Jack can use in 1-2 years, and now Jack's play kitchen!
J bone has LOVED to help me cook for months. It usually takes about 5 times as long to make the food, and 10 times as long to clean it up, but it's worth every second because it makes him so happy. I wanted to foster his love of cooking and encourage creativity, but there were two issues:
1) we don't have extra money for a play kitchen
2) we don't have extra money for a play kitchen
Er...I guess that is just 1 issue.
Anyhoo, I posted on freecycle that we were looking for a play kitchen. Withing 24 hours, someone responded that they had a wooden one that had been "rode hard and well loved, but it should clean up well". On MLK day, Jack and I drove out to the BFE portion of our county and picked it up. The little girl who had outgrown it came running out of her house with a huge bag of plastic food and said "he can have these too". SCORE! Freecycle isn't about bartering, but I did give them a fresh and still warm from the oven loaf of my bread as a thank you.
It stayed in Troy's truck for a few weeks, but finally this weekend we brought it upstairs after Jack went to bed and cleaned it up. "We" is a relative term because I made Troy do it all. We threw the plastic food in the dishwasher on sanitize. Troy covered the kitchen with a blanket, and we waited for Jack to wake up the next morning.
The kitchen was A HIT! And who cares that it's pink!
We've run in to a new way of teaching Jack about what constitutes "real food". I'm doing my best to make clear to him that an onion, banana, egg, and a corn cob are not the core ingredients of a successful birthday cake. You have to give the boy credit for creativity though! And hey, the dinosaurs LOVED it.