As if childcare wasn’t expensive enough, nursery is costing us a small fortune in ‘extra toys’ that we have to buy because PG is so into them at nursery. Not that I’d change any of it, and I don’t really complain that nursery is expensive because she gets so much out of it. Not long ago PG fell in love with the nursery slide, so we’ve now got a slide. Then she fell in love with role play (probably natural for her age, I know), and after Wifey witnessed how excited she was playing with her friend E’s kitchen, now we’ve got a play kitchen in the lounge at home. Please welcome the Ikea DUKTIG Play Kitchen, which to get myself some extra brownie points was picked up and BUILT by the time PG got home the same day. That’s some serious Daddy commitment, especially since I had man flu at the time.
The DUKTIG is currently on offer in UK stores at £59 down from £65. Not a huge saving but there’s a couple of packs of nappies and a cheap beer from Lidl in the difference if you’re lucky. Expect to spend closer to eighty-quid (and beyond) though. You can’t have a kitchen without pans, and certainly no utensils (although the less said about that the better as I left the spatula etc in the yellow bag at the checkout. A nice surprise for someone else. Oops). Oh we also bought the Melissa and Doug Food Groups Wooden Food Set too, so it does get expensive but it’s important to give your little one the chance to explore the world of role play – I’ve had some cracking eggs cooked for me already! #PunIntended
The first very important thing to note is that this thing comes in about a million pieces, with LOTS of little screws etc, so you want to ship the whole family off to the park while you build it (seriously lose the Wife too otherwise there’ll be a flat packed argument/divorce). Open the box, cringe a little at the number of bits it’s in, then get everything out in front of you and ditch the packaging.
Building it isn’t too difficult, it just takes a lot of time so bang some music on and just get on with it – it took me about an hour. Ikea seem to have got rid of those Z Allen/Hex keys and replaced them with the L shaped ones which are actually a damn sight harder to use (at least in this product anyway). The Z ones you could just whizz round and round until the screw was tight. You actually have to put some effort in with the big boy Allen keys! Half way through building you’re asked to put a stupid bracket underneath where the tap goes. It took me until I’d finished to realise this was to attach it to the wall, which I wasn’t going to do and it was a bit more difficult to take it off at that point. If you don’t want to screw it to the wall ignore this step. At 72cm wide it’s not an eyesore in any room in the house. Some people might want it in the kitchen so kids can ‘help’ make tea, we chose to have it in the lounge, since that’s where we spend so much of our time as a family.
Some of the cheaper Ikea furniture isn’t all that good quality but the DUKTIG is really quite a sturdy toy. There’s an ‘electric hob’ with two rings that both light up at the press of a button (don’t worry they won’t burn your kids). 4 AA batteries required – yes FOUR, hopefully they’ll last a lifetime otherwise I’ll be ringing the Duracell bunny up. Helpfully the rings turn themselves off after a few minutes so you don’t need to worry about them being accidentally left on drinking expensive battery juice. There’s a plastic sink and tap for teaching those all important washing up skills, a microwave, ‘oven’ and cupboard, and a bar to hang all those important utensils on (the pans are currently hung on PG’s kitchen seeing as I left the utensils in the shop…). The legs are adjustable too so the kitchen can grow with your child. PG can’t reach the microwave yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long.
We’ve already had many a happy hour playing in the kitchen, from cooking to washing up to just pulling everything out of the cupboard and oven. Lifting the sink out and posting things through the hole is also a firm favourite. PG’s face fair lit up when she walked in the room and realised she had her own kitchen to play with – she practically ran to it and she’d only just learnt to walk. A whim present usually gets the best reaction no matter what your age!!
If you want to explore role play, the DUKTIG is a great place to start. Expect lots of kitchen related gifts to follow (toasters, baking sets etc) which all add to the fun! Be careful not to start fights with seafood though, the fish will get battered!