Ever since Cole started speech therapy, one of our goals for him has been to improve his imaginative play. While he plays and entertains himself incredibly well, it's not really "pretend" play, it's more stacking and building and reading type play than anything else. Apparently imaginative play is a huge help for language development - who knew?
So I got it into my head that Cole needed a play kitchen (he LOVES to help me in the kitchen) and I set off to find one that didn't cost a million dollars. Mission: failed. They were all SO expensive! And I didn't even know if he was going to even play with it! Even the yucky plastic kitchens were upward of $75. So I decided to make a mini kitchen out of a large cardboard box we had in the garage - the plan was to add an oven, a sink, and paint the whole thing so it sort of looked like a kitchen. That way, I could see if it was going to be a hit with Cole before shelling out $100+ for a real one.
I worked on the cardboard kitchen for a whole evening, and it was looking pretty great and I was getting pretty excited about it. So I tossed it downstairs so I could paint it in the morning, logged on to my computer (where I regularly check Craigslist just for fun), and lo and behold I spotted a post: "Free wooden play kitchen. Needs cleaning."
No picture, but I emailed the poster anyway - we picked up the kitchen the next day and I tossed my cardboard attempt in the recycling! Truly, when we picked up the freebie kitchen, I wasn't sold. It was in BAD shape. It was hideously ugly and I am pretty sure it hadn't been cleaned in at least 40 years. But after looking at it closer, I saw some potential underneath the grime and ugly wood:
Gah! I know, right? But it was FREE!
So after about a million hours of scouring the entire thing with bleach, a nice coat of white spray paint, new handles and a new sink faucet, here's the after:
I'm a little jealous that Cole gets stainless-steel appliances before I do! :)
Most of the accessories and fun felt food were from IKEA, although Gram brought up some very special pieces for Cole too:
The burners on the stove are old CD's painted black and glued on, and the metal rack in the oven is an old cookie rack glued on. The sink is just an aluminum roasting pan.
Not too bad for free, right? I love a good coat of paint!