The makers’ movement is alive and well – and it can be seen in the popularity of DIY kitchen playsets! The Internet is a rich source of ideas for the best DIY play kitchens, especially on social media sites like YouTube, Pinterest, and Instructables, among others.
The trick is in choosing the one that will suit your children’s needs and wants in the playset, which can be a challenging task given the wide range of options.
Merits of Building a DIY Play Kitchen
Of course, every parent can choose to buy ready-to-assemble kitchen playsets from brick-and-mortar stores and online shops for convenience purposes. But there are a few disadvantages to buying these products, too, including the more high price, the standard features that don’t allow for more personalization, and the possibility of premature damage from inferior materials.
For many parents, the higher price is the major stumbling block in the purchase of ready-to-assemble kitchen playsets, especially when these will only be used for a few years (i.e., no intention of making it an heirloom piece).
Many high-quality play kitchens are priced at hundreds of dollars but their DIY counterparts cost significantly less, even just $50 with the use of repurposed furniture, fixtures, and toys, especially the miniature dining and cooking utensils.
The one-size-fits-all styles of ready-made kitchen playsets also don’t appeal to DIY enthusiasts. The standard features on a specific model, such as a Little Tikes Ultimate Cook Kitchen, may not exactly suit the unique personal preferences of their children.
These personal preferences can include the number of burners on the stove; the number of shelves, cabinets, and pegs for storage; and the types of play appliances included in the unit.
In contrast, a DIY kitchen can be designed to address as many of the children’s preferences as possible without making it too large or too complicated for their age category.
For example, you can choose to make a kitchen playset with the whole nine yards including shelves, cabinets and pegs for storage; refrigerator, stovetop with oven, microwave oven, and dishwasher with an attached laundry area; and a sink with a miniature working faucet. You may also add doors that can be closed and opened with knobs, perhaps even a pass-through window.
Parents can also have greater control over the types of materials used and the quality of construction when building DIY kitchen playsets. You can choose a wooden playset, for example, made from a repurposed mahogany dresser because it’s such a durable piece of furniture, as well as use recycled paints, poster boards, and linoleum from your personal stash in storage.
Indeed, if you have a willingness to put in the necessary time, energy and effort plus your spare dollars into it, you should seriously consider making a DIY kitchen playset for your kids! Otherwise, you always have the choice of buying a brand-new one from a reliable brand.
Tips for Making DIY Play Kitchens
The ability to make durable, functional and beautiful DIY play kitchens isn’t an innate one, contrary to popular opinion. Instead, it’s a learned skill that can be acquired by reading books and magazines, watching instructional videos, and looking for inspiration in other people’s work.
The following tips will also help in getting you started on the right foot with building your first DIY kitchen playset for your children.
Discuss design ideas with the kids
The measure of the best DIY kitchen playsets is in the joy that their primary users – the children, obviously – get from playing with them.
For this reason, you should always seek the opinions of your children about their personal preferences in colors, features, and functions in their play kitchen. Even toddlers will have a general idea of what they like and don’t like in their toys!
You can show them photos of ready-made and homemade kitchen playsets for this purpose. You may then let them point out the features that they like, provide your own input, and arrive at a compromise, a process that will also teach young children about basic negotiating skills.
You should neither be intimidated nor paralyzed by the beauty of other DIY play kitchens because then you will not be satisfied with your handiwork. Just design according to your children’s preferences while also considering your own skill levels, available materials, and allotted space.
You should then draw an initial design that your children can see. Be ready for their input, too, although you must still consider your own concerns, as mentioned above.
Look for suitable furniture and fixtures
You will be surprised at the number of materials that can be repurposed and recycled to make a DIY kitchen playset! A few examples of the unit itself include pre-loved dressers, bookcases, and study tables, which can be re-sanded and re-painted as well as re-designed with new holes, hooks and shelves.
The fixtures, such as the sink, faucet and pegs, can either be sourced from your home’s stash of recyclable things, as well as from garage sales, thrift shops, and hardware stores for super-affordable prices.
The cooking utensils can even come from your children’s existing collection of miniature cooking toys, many of which may just be lying around waiting for a kitchen playset.
And you should start building the kitchen playset! The first step is usually the hardest but it becomes easier as you acquire more skills.