DIY Pretend Play Kitchen Update

 A couple of months ago I posted about how the pretend play kitchen in our house sees a lot of action.  Isla (15 months old now) LOVES to pretend she owns a tea shop!  She dunks the 'tea bags' in the cups, she adds the sugar cubes, she stirs and stirs and then delivers the perfect cup of tea.

The plastic kitchen we have isn't quite the right height for her, and her favorite thing is to open all the doors and play monkey and try to climb up to the top...sigh.  So when we rearranged our living room upstairs and swapped out our low TV stand for a taller dresser (the keep curious fingers away) I wanted to try to reuse the old stand.

I thought the height would be nice for her to stand at, and it has quite a lot of storage to keep all of the accessories off the floor when not in use.  You could do a similar project with any low piece of furniture you're willing to sacrifice (or find free or cheap!)  I'll list out all of my modifications below--feel free to pick and choose which elements will work with your piece!

The only structural change I made was to have Michael cut a circular hole in the top for a 'drop-in sink' (aka pet food dish) and drill two holes to install the faucet (cheapest model I could find at Walmart--about $10...a used one from a bathroom remodel would be even better!)

Once the holes were drilled, I installed the 'countertop' (aka marble print contact paper) all over the top surface.  I cut away around the holes--be sure you cut enough so that you can adhere your dish directly to the surface...gluing on top of contact paper is pretty useless.  Michael Gorilla-glued the pet dish in and simply screwed the plastic nuts on the threads of the sink to secure it--easiest plumbing job ever!

The next step was to secure the cutting board (an old one that was deeply scratched on the opposite side that I didn't want to use for food prep any more).  Four screws up through the bottom side keep it in place (through the top is fine too if you can't access underneath, this is just a little more 'authentic')

The 'stove top' has been the most problematic part.  My original idea was the paint a thin 12"x12" plywood board dark grey, spiral pipe cleaners to look like the burners, then cover with a 12"x12" piece of plexiglass and secure all the layers together.  We're still working on this one...the trim pieces are being problematic :/  Eventually three holes will be drilled in the empty corner and three knobs will be installed.

You could get creative with the drawers and openings to create a fridge or oven, but for now I think the countertop area will be sufficient for Isla's play needs.

The final piece of the "kitchen" are a set of cafe tables (covered with more contact paper to look like table cloths) and two poofs for seating.  The poofs (from this tutorial) were really fun to make and she loves sitting on them, drinking her tea!

I have plans to make her an adorable apron in the next few weeks--I'll be sure to share all about that little addition to her tea shop!

So, I'm curious...what is (or was) your kids' favorite pretend play activity?


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