In the Kitchen with Kids: A Play Kitchen You Won’t Hate

Before we had a child we swore up and down that our house wouldn’t become a giant toy depository. Piles of kid toys- especially in the form of single function plastic crap with missing pieces- give me the willies. The Family Purchasing Clause of 2007 states: “One small child, consisting of 33.33% of the human inhabitants, shall not occupy 75% of the space, nor shall items that are solely for her purpose.”

People shook their heads and gave us those silently judging “Oh they just don’t know what it is like when a metric shit ton of plastic crap descends on your house. It is unavoidable! It just happens! I think they might be un-american!”  Well, it is over 4 years later and we have fairly easily avoided it.  Turns out it is completely possible- if you share a similar value and are intentional and conscious.

Generally, it plays out a little like this: if there isn’t a space for it, which in our small house is likely, then we don’t get it. We value anti-consumerism, so don’t tend to buy, or keep, things merely for the sake of having them. We aren’t militant about it, but that is the goal. Items serve a purpose and are used regularly, or we don’t have them.  Most potential purchases get examined by a web of personal values, space to keep/store, and finances. Kid items aren’t exempt.  If something can’t be put away after playing to contain it, then we don’t get it. Things are pretty organized. Games have a place; as do blocks, cars, stuffed animals, puzzles, and books.

Cooking is also a value I hope to instill in the Babylady.  Kids learn skills and values through play and modeled behavior. If you want your kid to cook they need to see you cooking, take part in cooking, and play at cooking. But those play kitchens? $400 for a nicer wood one? Or less for a crappy plastic one.  Both take up a ridiculous amount of space and are singularly purposed. Ugh. What to do?

Enter the Ikea Bekväm Step Stool . People have varying opinions on IKEA.  To the naysayers I say, whatevs. You can organize your kid like nobody’s business and do it in a manner that won’t make you shudder every single time you look at it. We need to reach high objects. We think a play kitchen could be fun for her. She wants to “help” us make things.  Transformation time!

grow and resist IKEA hack bekvam step stool kids cooking

image from IKEA (Bekvam Step Stool)

grow and resist ikea hack kids cooking bevkam stool

Finished

Bekväm Stool Hack

Need: Bekväm stool ($14.99), 4 Pannå coasters ($1.99), paint in any color, a few screws, 4 rubber concave wall door stops (something like this ~$6/total), and heavy-duty craft glue.  Optional: an old shelf organizer & some staples.

  • Assemble stool, which is surprisingly easy. Yay!
  • Paint stool color of choice. We chose black, for no real reason that I can remember. Maybe we had it on hand?
  • The top of the stool will accommodate 4 coasters-turned-burners. I got red to simulate a hot stove.  I adhered them with some heavy-duty craft glue and then put a screw in the middle of each.  The glue has held up for the past 3 years so the screw was probably unneccessary.
  • Space the doorstops along front edge and glue/screw in place.  Voila! You now have knobs!
  • I happened to find an old shelf organizer (somewhat like this) that we weren’t using to turn into an oven rack. You could use an unused file tray or something else.  Goodwill usually has a lot of this type of thing. Or skip this step all together.  I painted the organizer to match the stove and used a staple gun to attach it underneath.

That is it!  For less than $30 (and that is if you get everything new) you can have a new play kitchen for your kid. That is small, unobtrusive, AND useful to everyone!  It is her kitchen, her helping stool, but it works as originally intended for us to get things down from high spots. Win!

grow and resist bekvam ikea step stool hack kids cooking

About these ads
This entry was posted in Kitchen, Parenting, Randomness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to In the Kitchen with Kids: A Play Kitchen You Won’t Hate

  1. sara gilbert says:

    Brilliant, Meg!!! I’m SO building one of those, mostly b/c I need a stool and Boden LOVES to cook.

  2. This is brilliant – I even have that stool. If only I needed a play kitchen! :)

  3. emmycooks says:

    Ok, that is CUTE. And I should adopt your no-place-for-it-no-get-it philosophy. We get tons of hand me downs, which is great, but we need to do a better job of containing the whirligigs and thingamajigs.

  4. Dude, yes. Well played. Very well played indeed.

  5. What an amazing idea – I love it. Agree with you 110% about the crap-avoidance too.
    It is possible, but you’re luckier than I was about unified opinion among the “adults” in the house…
    It takes a team to pull that off…
    Kids would rather DO things with you than get a bunch of stuff – I really think we teach them to want all that crap because we like the moments of buying then giving the stuff so much. Then we expect them to take it off and go play on their own….

    • Totally true about kids wanting to do things with us and that over-consumption/consumerism is taught. And it IS fun to get them things. I have to be really conscious of it…because there are so many fun things. But they also have no idea how to deal/manage all that stuff… I think the stuff itself- just being there- is overstimulating.

      • Sara Gilbert says:

        I have a rule that I only buy toys that require energy because energy = exhaustion = fit kids! And, I get 99% of toys from craigslist and garage sales. Lately, we picked up a $10 trampoline and $7 slide. Presents from grandparents have included a tunnel to crawl through, a RODY, and soccer balls.

  6. Julia says:

    Meg, this is great. I love it! We made an stove/oven out of some silver boxes we found. I am totally on board with you on the anti-crap mission. Our rules on buying new toys are that it has to be useful for the long term. We have so many toys that have been given to us that last for the first time novelty and then sit there. You know why? Cause they’re not fun!

    • So true. And like I said to Auburn Meadow Farm– it is often fun to buy. I see a lot of cool games and puzzles and clothes that I would love to get for Lucy…but when there is too much- it isn’t a novelty and gets glossed over, right?

  7. Susan says:

    It’s great!!

    But I see the hooks for the pans as a major potential Danger! This could easily be avoided with a different hook or placement.

    • True. She had a potholder on it at one time. We haven’t had any issues, but I can imagine that there is potential. I see potential with most things though. Other than medicines and a few cleaning supplies we have, we kinda of throw caution to the wind.

      • Melanie says:

        I love it Meg! If we didn’t already have a kitchen we picked up at a G-sale, I’d be all over that in a hot minute. But, now I’m strongly considering making one for a little boy turning 5!
        As for the hook, I agree with you. Anything is a potential danger; kids in socks on wooden floors, corners on tables, my daughter trying to brush her own long hair…

      • Thanks Melanie! And too funny on the brushing her own hair…. I can’t imagine the tangles. Just Lucy’s shortish hair is a hot mess! =)

  8. brittney says:

    Meg you rock! I love your blog and your sensibilities. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Inder says:

    I just pinned this into a folder I have that is supposedly for “toys” but actually contains a million pictures of toy kitchens, since that is what I crave most for my child (whether it’s what HE craves, well, that’s a different story). I love this very simple and easy hack. This might be something I could actually, you know, do. Whereas so many other hacks require way too much actual skill. Also, I love its multi-functionality! All around awesome.

    I’m always striving for extremely pared down zen with Joe’s toys, but they seem to have a life of their own sometimes. We hardly buy anything for him, but the gifts do pile up. Of course, when I was pregnant, I was determined that Joe would have only wood toys, all fairly gender neutral and educational, etc., but now, I’m just happy if something keeps Joe occupied for more than five minutes before he’s running around the house screaming his head off and wielding a stick or whatever. :-) The compromises we make.

    • Thanks Inder! The toys do have a life of their own– though, in our house it is more books have a life of their own. We all love books, both sets of grandparents love books, and my mom is a retired teacher and gave her boxes of books. They all still fit on her bookshelves, but the sheer quantity of them is pretty unbelievable. I half-wish we’d run out of room so I could force a pare down =)

  10. BethieofVA says:

    Just too cute and clever, but I really love the Butterprint Pyrex bowl! :)

  11. Spinning Cook says:

    Awesome – well done! And besides cooking you’ve modeled painting, carpentry, creativity…

    My first ever blog post was about the importance of teaching healthy eating habits for life, which matters much more (I think) than what we feed them today. That’s based on the fact that they will probably be out of our care (following those habits) for a larger part of their life and they are under our care. So if there’s one toy every kid needs it’s a stove! Of course I’m biased but… Bravo!!

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan. I agree– we are big on teaching that as well. Between the horrific food out there and the messaging about women’s bodies/fat v. thin it is something that we are working hard with. Modeling, discussing, and getting her engaged in it. What food does for her (and what it doesn’t), critical thinking about messaging, learning to cook, seeing us be active, but keeping it all in balance so nothing is off limits. Ok, fast food is off limits (somehow we have managed to get her to 4+ years and she has NO idea what fast food is, what McDonalds is, etc)

  12. Susan Covey says:

    This is going in my “For when I’m a Grandma” file. Adorable! And so is your Babylady!

  13. Pingback: {weekend reading} Back in the Saddle Again | FROM SCRATCH CLUB

  14. Elisa says:

    I Pinterested this, and so far 21 people have repinned! You might have a lot of new blog followers soon :) This is a really cute idea! I might make it for my Godson.

  15. Pingback: Weekend Road Trip « Tami Clayton

  16. Stacy says:

    Oh my gosh, Meg! I am just now seeing this (ok, I’m way behind) and this is so freaking cute! Nice work!!!

  17. Jessica says:

    So cool! Just found your blog. Love it!

  18. Pingback: Getting Artsy with Kids and IKEA: A Compact Art Studio | Grow & Resist

  19. Pingback: Top Five. Or Note to Self- It Seems You Like Tutorials | Grow & Resist

  20. Pingback: Garden Hopscotch and Games | Grow & Resist

  21. Pingback: IKEA Step Stool = 1 Cool Play Kitchen! | Boys Germs

  22. Pingback: 16 Top Tips for Cooking with Kids | wauwaa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s