The Melissa and Doug Deluxe Kitchen offers outstanding design features and sturdy wood construction that will provide your children with years of serious kitchen fun. Although a bit pricey, this is a kitchen set that has few rivals in terms of safety features, durability, and overall design. Recommended for children three years and older, this kitchen includes a stove top, refrigerator and freezer, see-through oven, microwave, sink, and plenty of storage space.
Set-Up Time and Design Features
Before you invest in this set, be prepared for four or more hours of set-up time. To assemble this Deluxe Kitchen Set, you’ll be asked to connect over 30 separate solid-wood pieces together with more than 170 nuts, bolts, screws and hinges.
Don’t panic! The good news is that the instructions couldn’t be any easier to follow. If you know how to use a screwdriver and a hex key, you can do it. (A power screwdriver would speed things up quite a bit.) You’ll also want a second set of hands on call due to the set’s weight–the finished product weighs over 40 kilograms.
To ease assembly, each wooden piece is color coded and pre-drilled, making it virtually impossible to make mistakes. Just be certain to give yourself plenty of floorspace and time before you start, and with so many easy-to-swallow pieces, you’ll want the kids to be fast asleep.
This kitchen is incredibly well-constructed and designed; you’ll consider it as much of a piece of furniture as a child’s toy. It would take an extremely determined and strong child with a heavy object to harm it. And if you treat it well, it could easily become an heirloom to pass down to the next generation of young chefs.
A nice safety feature parents will love is that there are no sharp angles that can harm stumbling children; every wood piece has been rounded at the corners, and every knob and faucet similarly features soft curves designed specially with toddlers in mind. Each wooden piece and metal hinge is pre-painted with a hard, durable acrylic. All the screws and bolts are recessed, and the see-through oven and microwave feature unbreakable plastic windows.
When completed, the set measures approximately 104 cm x 106 cm x 43 cm (HxWxD).
What the Aspiring Chef Needs
Although this set is recommended for children three years of age and older, one of our test children who was two years old loved every macaroni-and-cheese making minute of her time with it. On her tiptoes she could reach the microwave and storage cabinet (the set stands over three feet tall), and over the next several months of growing she will assuredly gain greater satisfaction with easier use of the top shelves. Our slightly taller three-year old test boy also had to reach a bit, but neither one of them minded in the least.
The stove dials and sink faucet and assemblies turn freely, which made it easy for the kids to use. Each of the doors is held shut by an adjustable plastic door latch that provides just enough tension to keep them from swinging freely but still easy for the kids to open. The stove, microwave, and refrigerator each feature simply painted details, such as timers, temperature gauges and a ice maker. It’s possible that as kids grow older, they may want more realistic details, but for toddlers, the bright and bold colors and simple designs are perfect. This is make-believe, after all.
Be forewarned that the set itself does not come with any cooking utensils or other assecories. We purchased a Melissa and Doug Kitchen Accessory Set before assembling the kitchen and were glad we did. Our children adopted the wooden pans and spoons immediately, and within minutes they were cooking blue pizza, apple sauce soup, and mango sorbet.
While the related accessories would be nice, as long as your children use appropriate objects, such as wooden or plastic utensils and pans, their creations will be just as scrumptious. (Aside from the safety factor, metal objects in the hands of an energetic child will scratch the paint over time.)