Children inherently love to play!
They are playful by nature and, if allowed, their imaginations naturally soar and evolve.
Role playing as toddlers and preschoolers comes from watching those around them and mimicking behavior. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has now included play as a criterion in its accreditation process for programs for young children. “They call it their work,” says Peter Pizzolongo, associate director for professional development at NAEYC. “When they’re learning and playing with joy, then it’s a positive experience. They develop a positive approach to learning.” Many other child development experts agree, stating that play is the work of children, the aftermath is then the work of parents!
Play is crucial for your child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. Therefore, it is imperative to equip your children with as many avenues available to make role-play happen. The Little Tikes Company, founded in 1970, is a multi-national manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, innovative children’s products. Little Tikes Role Play products inspire kids to connect to their world through dramatic, creative and imaginary play while promoting social interaction through every day fun.
With Amelia now nearly 15 months old and Noah just shy of 3, role play is becoming a huge form of entertainment in our home. It’s funny, because as they mimic my and my husband’s behavior, we start noticing what we do a lot of around the house, without recognizing that behavior. In my case, both of my kids LOVE to pretend vacuum and drink tea in tea parties!
Although there isn’t much room in our kitchen to accomodate the children to assist in cooking and baking it has been WONDERFUL to have received the new Little Tikes Cook n Grow Kitchen! What a great role-playing toy that both of my children can play with at the same time!
The greatest feature of the Cook n Grow Kitchen is that it can be reconfigured to accommodate two different age levels. Stage 1 introduces preschoolers to kitchen play at height that’s just right, and Stage 2 provides growing kids with added kitchen role play.
Other great and fun features of the Cook n Grow Kitchen:
* REAL SOUNDS
Place the pot on the stove and it makes a bubbling noise. The kids loved the fact that the sounds sounded like mommy’s kitchen!
This kitchen is not going anywhere anytime soon. As for all of the Little Tikes toys, the plastic is tough and durable! With this said, though, it is still light enough to move easily around the room …. or around the house to play next to mommy while cooking!
* COMPLETE KITCHEN GOODS
In doing research to buy Noah a kitchen in the future, I have found that many of the kitchens on the market do not come with all of the fun accessories and food. With this kitchen, we received over 50+ pieces! (2) pizzas, one pizza roller, (2) pizza pans, (4) cupcakes, one red phone, one coffee pot, (4) plates, 12 piece utensils with spatula, one hamburger with bun, one hot dog with bun, skillet, pot and lid, (2) coffee cups, (2) plastic drinking glasses, an assortment of stickers and more!
* FINE MOTOR SKILLS and REASONING
Within the fun accessories that come with the kitchen, there is developmental initiatives built into the design. The cupcake holder and cupcakes fit together like a puzzle demanding the child to figure out how to properly place them in. The pizzas each come with four slices with varying toppings. With this, parents can play and teach along with their children math and matching skills. The pot comes with three (3) shapes and the lid has the matching slots ~ teach your little one how to develop cognitive thinking skills with shape sorting!
The Cook n Grow Kitchen also features doors on the oven, refrigerator and microwave that open and close just like the real versions! In addition, the stove burner knobs also can be turned to replicate the cooking process. Although the microwave and oven do not feature electronic noises, it is quite fun to watch Noah cook food for mommy and daddy while pretending to press buttons and going “boop boop boop beep beep!”
* SAFE PLASTICS
Being the green mom that I am, I was excited to see that every piece of the Cook n Grow kitchen was a “safe plastic,” most being a #2 plastic. Way to go Little Tikes!
In the next round of designs, I would only change a handful of features on this kitchen. First, with so many wonderful accessories, there is no where to store the majority. There is an opening above the microwave with molded hooks to hold the two coffee cups and a shelf for the four plates, but outside of placing food inside of the microwave, oven, refrigerator and sink, there is still the need to store everything else. We ended up having to place a tupperware bucket underneath our kitchen to store the pie pans and silverware.
Also, the molded knobs meant to hold the coffee cups and the phone are a bit too short and they tend to fall with the slightest bump to the kitchen. In addition, the area designated for the coffee pot was also a bit shallow causing the coffee pot to fall over into the sink…..creating one upset little boy.
The only other suggestion of change for the design of the kitchen are the actual stickers. Stickers are great, but kids (specifically Amelia) like to try and pull them off. Of course, stickers never pull off nicely, leaving torn remnants of stickers left on a beautiful little kitchen. Also, Noah was confused by the stickers on the oven and microwave that made it look as if there was food cooking inside, yet if he was cooking pizza in the oven, why was there a picture of a turkey on the outside Ah kids!
Little Tikes products are known for providing durable, imaginative and active fun. Products are manufactured in a wide variety of categories for young children, including infant toys, popular sports,play trucks, ride-on toys, sandboxes, jungle gyms and playgrounds, slides, pre-school development, role-play toys, creative arts and juvenile furniture.
Some other great Little Tikes items that would be perfect for this Holiday season are:
The play tools and DIY projects let them jump in with physical play and role play. This unique two-sided toy workbench design is perfect for any playroom or bedroom. A great way to promote the development of motor skills and imagination.
A backyard playhouse with a medieval twist! The Little Tikes Castle is perfect for everyday play and imaginative games of princesses, knights and pirates.
Little Tikes Doll Buggy
I’m actually considering getting this for Amelia this Christmas! This delightful doll buggy holds dolls up to 18” tall and fosters hours of imaginative play and role playing. Children develop a caring, nurturing nature as they take care of dolls, stuffed animals and other toys.
CONNECT! Little Tikes is one of the leading toy manufacturers in the world! Make sure not to miss any of their new products and deals that are shared with their most loyal fans!
* Visit their website ~ Full of great toys and educational products for the little love in your life!
* Like on Facebook and connect with other parents and loyal fans of the Little Tikes products
* Tweet it out! Follow Little Tikes on Twitter to keep up to date with the most new and foremost news!
* Subscribe to the e-newsletter to keep in line with the latest and greatest products and specials!
* Watch fun videos on the Little Tikes YouTube channel
* Know someone who is expecting a baby? Make sure that they enter to win the Little Tikes Baby on the Way Giveaway!
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Disclaimer: Sample(s) were received at no cost to the reviewer. The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely that of NoM, and are completely honest and without influence. NoM has chosen to host a giveaway for this product(s) because we think it would benefit our readers. NoM will not responsible for prizes that have not been received, but will make every attempt to assist winner(s) in securing them in a timely fashion. It is the winner’s responsibility to make contact with NoM in a timely manner (within 30 days after the close of the giveaway) to report that a prize(s) has not been received or the prize(s) may be void. NoM may or may not be an affiliate of one or more products mentioned in this review, and by clicking on and/or purchasing products from a banner or link on this page, NoM may make a small commission at no cost to you. Click on the appropriate links to view our full policies, giveaway rules and disclaimers.