User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Compact size, inexpensive, sturdy, neutral colors, makes noise, comes with dishes
Cons:Stickers are a pain, color not as shown
The Bottom Line: Great kitchen for small spaces and small children! Easy to set up and sturdy!
I ordered the Little Tikes Super Chef Kitchen last week as a Christmas present for my 1 year old daughter. I looked at lots of different play kitchens online before I picked this one. There were lots of nice ones, but boy can they get expensive! With finances being tight, I wanted to stay under $100 for my purchase. The cheapest play kitchen I saw was $49 or so, but the reviews were bad, and there were rumors of it taking hours to put together. The Super Chef Kitchen was just released in July 2009, so it didn't have many reviews, but the ones I found online seemed to be fairly positive- easy to set up, cute, and durable.
Recommend this product?
I bought it from Amazon.com for $73.30 plus shipping. It is cheaper from other places (like Toys R Us in their big holiday toy catalog) but I was using gift cards, so I stuck with Amazon. I was a little nervous ordering such a large item online, since I'd never seen one in person, and it would be a pain if it arrived damaged or with missing parts, but I took the plunge and ordered it anyway. Luckily, it arrived intact and with all of the pieces.
It's made entirely out of plastic (with the exception of the included screws). It comes in 3 main pieces (bottom, counter, and top), and then has 3 plastic bags in the box with the smaller pieces, hardware, and dishes. The instructions come in English and Spanish, but are mostly pictures so you don't really need to do much reading.
I tried to set it up when my husband was out with my daughter getting dinner (about a 20 minute trip). I'm not particularly handy, but I sat down with a screwdriver, laid all the parts in front of me, and got to work. It was surprisingly simple to assemble! Most of the pieces snap into place, and there are 12 screws and 2 plastic screwlike things to put into it. I didn't get it quite done when my family arrived back, but I was probably 95% done. My husband did have to tighten some screws down for me and pop in a piece that I couldn't get in.
I had meant to get it back into the box by the time my daughter got home, but she saw me putting it together and had to come investigate. She seemed very interested so I think she will like it come Christmas time! It's a good thing she won't remember! If you're thinking of getting this for your little one for Christmas, you should know that you can assemble it fully and it will still fit back into the box!
It has an oven, refrigerator, and towel rod on the bottom, shallow sink, tiny counter, and stovetop on the counter part, and microwave, coffee pot, phone space, and cabinet on the top part. The refrigerator, oven, and stove are small, but each have a molded in shelf inside for extra storage. The microwave doesn't have a shelf inside.
I am very pleased with my purchase. The kitchen is very sturdy plastic, yet lightweight (I got the box into the house by myself, and I am small- it weighs maybe 20 pounds). It is cute without being too bright in color- perfect to not stand out terribly from your decor, and perfect for a boy or a girl. It is also a rather compact size- 40 inches tall but maybe 2 feet wide, so you can put it into a corner easily. It also comes with a few dishes (2 plates, 2 cups, 2 sets of silverware, coffee pot, pan, and phone) so your child can get to playing right away. It also makes sizzling sounds, but I don't have batteries (2 AAA) on hand so I haven't tried it yet.
There are only a few negatives, and they are small. The stickers can be hard to get straight, and they aren't really repositionable (which is good because they won't come off, but bad if you're not the best at aligning them). Also, the picture on the box and the pictures on various websites show a small towel on the towel rod, but that is not something it comes with. In addition, it shows the kitchen being dark blue and beige, but when I took it out of the box, it was dark blue and speckly medium brown- considerably darker than the picture displayed. That wasn't a big deal to me, but I did notice it.
Of course, you will have to buy play food separately, but that is the case with most play kitchens out there. It isn't too large of a kitchen, but it is perfect size for a toddler. It is almost a foot taller than my 1 year old, so she has plenty of time to grow without dwarfing it. Overall, I am extremely pleased with my purchase, and I expect years of play cooking fun out of it! And yes, I may have to play with it when my daughter isn't looking.
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Amount Paid (US$): 73.30
Type of Toy: Playscene
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months