We had a trendy cute Hape Play Kitchen once, but I hated it. The kids would climb on it, the doors would break and slam, and it took up space in our small home. I sold it before the next Christmas in favour of toys meant for climbing like the Pikler Triangle, the Brain Rich Kids play gym, and these other climbing toy ideas.
Then our daughter became a toddler, and her interests were different and she loved playing with the pots and pans. Last year for Christmas, I considered buying another play kitchen for her. I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars and I didn’t want to be stuck with something large and bulky if she never used the play kitchen. I sought out alternatives play kitchen ideas.
There’s a few alternative play kitchens on the market
- Kitchen Chair Covers
- Kitchen Pillows
- Just the Kitchen Sink
- Mini Kitchen in A Bucket
PopOhVer – Pretend Kitchen Chair Cover
Last year, I ordered the PopOhVer Canvas Pretend Kitchen Chair Cover. This is a canvas material that goes over most chairs. It features rigid plastic inserts that make the shape of the chair, and the door of the microwave and oven open and hold close with magnets.
Why I don’t love the PopOhVer Pretend Kitchen Chair…
I have chairs with curves back, and the hard plastic doesn’t really fit well to the curve chair.
I also had to sacrifice a chair, because she ended up loving it and it is a permanent feature in her room, it doesn’t work well with folding chairs (I have the Costco collapsable and it doesn’t fit). It’s also way more difficult to put together than I expected so the ease of pulling it out every now and then was quickly defeated.
I found that with the hard plastic in the door, the doors of the oven and microwave did not close. The magnets are too weak to hold up the door without falling to the ground. Most of the time the doors are open as finding the magnets to keep them close is not a task many enjoy to do, or check in to do.
We don’t use any of the hard plastic and it’s floppy in her bedroom, but she still mixes her potions and makes tea for her friends.
What I Wish I bought
I wish I bought these incredible play kitchen pillows for the kids. These appear much more versatile for moving around the house, storing, and bringing out. If you lived in an apartment this is definitely a great play kitchen alternative. I also feel like we could just pop these on the floor in the kids room and they would have loved them.
The Sago Mini Play Kitchen is Available on Amazon and one example of this alternative play kitchen for kids. You can also get a doctors office! This is a great play kitchen for small spaces and it’s machine washable!
A Few Other Pretend Kitchen Alternates
I also dreamed of making my own chair cover kitchen, you can find them on Etsy, and the inspiration would have required me to start the project a few months out. There’s different variations from DIY felt kitchens to more intricate canvas lay outs. Or likewise, buy one direct from an incredible maker.
A Few Makers on Etsy who Make Play Kitchen Chair Covers
- ElsaEmporium (UK)
- BeadiesSewingShed (UK)
- CubbyTime (NewZealand)
- MiniMeCollection (Australia) – she also has these really cool table fort covers that I know my kids would love.
Just the Kitchen Sink
These mini kitchen sinks are incredibly popular in my mom groups for kids under the age of 3. They give a mini kitchen that can be easily cleaned up and takes up significantly less room. You can often find them at big box stores, toy stores, and even online. Amazon USA has so many incredible Play Sink options for you to choose from.
You can also find these mini complete kitchen’s that fold up into a box. These are plastic toys with the entire kitchen accessories and include a stove, sink, and oven.
What worked for your family?
My daughter still plays with our mishapen play kitchen, but I sometimes regret the purchase and should have just ordered the pillow.