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One of the toys my little girl received this Christmas was the mini sizzling kitchen from The Early Learning Centre. We have been playing with this for over a year at our play group so I knew she would like her own one at home as its one of her favourite toys. There are so many amazing kitchens you can buy as toys, some costing upwards of £150 and if I had the room I would love one of these free standing ones but as it was we decided upon this one as its fairly small, you can play with it on a chair or table top and more importantly it's portable. When you close it all up it has a handle at the top that you can carry it around with and it then just looks like a big vanity case. It has a really cut spotty pattern on the top and the rest of the kitchen is very Gorky and pink. I believe you can get it in a blue version too for boys.
When you open the lid of this kitchen on the top you will find two jobs. These have lots of little red buttons in a ring that are meant to look like the flames on a hob. These buttons actually light up and the right sided burner will sizzle when you turn it on and the left hand side will boil. I think this is a really nice aspect to the kitchen that it has lights and sounds because it makes it more authentic and fun to play with. The kitchen came with a frying pan and a lid so this works nicely on the two jobs and you can cook the play food in it too. The kitchen also came with quite a bit of play food including fried eggs, sausages, a burger with buns and some vegetables so your little one can prepare a whole meal for you with. There are also kitchen utensils like spatulas to help you cook the food as well.
On the underside of these hobs there is a grill so when you turn it over you can grill and even watch the hot coals glow and make grilling sounds.
On the inside of the lid there are two drop down little shelves which fold up when you want to close the lid. These are handy for storing bits and pieces on and to help you when you cook.
On the bottom of the kitchen you will find the oven. This has a see through plastic door that opens just like a proper oven door so you can open it to put your food in and cook it and still be able to see when it is done. What's great is that you can store all the food and utensils in this kitchen when not in use and can transport it all like this and play with it where you wish.
The kitchen takes 2 AA batteries and costs £35.99 from The Early Learning Centre.
One of the ongoing battles I have with Hubster is about buying so called 'girls toys' for Little Man. Luckily he is a typical little boy and loves cars, trucks and mud, but I see no harm in him exploring his creative side should he so desire - after all the best Chefs are all men and any job that means he'll be putting me up in a mansion in my old age is fine with me!!
My sister has a Saturday job at ELC, so when she was offered the ex-display Mini Sizzlin' Kitchen for a bargain price she got it for Little Man to have at Nanny's. It is a blue case with a red handle in the top and two snap clasps at the side - a bit like a large plastic vanity case. On the front is an oven door which opens. When you open the lid there are two shelves built into it which fold down to store your pots and pans on. Inside the case you get the sizzling' grill part. This is a double sided grill - on one side there is a barbeque grill and on the other side is two hob rings. Both sides light up and make a variety of cooking sounds - bubbling, sizzling etc. The grill requires 2 x AA batteries which are included
One of the best things about the Sizzlin' Grill is it comes with all the accessories you need for a starter kitchen. Included are Plates, Cups, cutlery, saucepan, Frying Pan, Spatula, Ladle and an array of plastic food. You also get a removal rack which hooks onto the side of the grill to store bits in, but this was missing from ours and hasn't been a noticeable loss. Even better everything fits inside the grill case so it ties away easily and is fully portable. We have had a few picnics and tea parties in the garden with ours! Its perfect if you don't want or have room for a full size kitchen play set.
Little Man really likes this set - he always asks to do cooking when he goes to Nanny's. However for some reason he likes to use his stackable cups as pots instead of the saucepans, so I'm thinking he is not the next Gordon Ramsay! He tends to use the hob rings, I think its because they make different noises when the grill only makes one. It seems to be pretty robust as he tends to be pretty rough with all his toys. The toy states for ages 3 and up - Little Man is 2 and a half and this has been fine for him and there is no really small parts. The only thing he struggles with is if he slams the lid he can't figure out how to open both latches at the same time to reopen it - but that is not a major problem.
The Mini Sizzlin' Grill is currently for sale at £35 in ELC - I think this is a good price for all you get included. The play food and pots and pans are decent quality and have held up well to rough play where cheaper accessories we have added haven't. However I have seen this at 20% off quite a few times (I think ELC rotate this across most of their toys!) so if you can get it for £28 pound then I would say it's a bargain!
Available from ELC, Mothercare and ELC.co.uk - Also available in pink.
It was my sons 5th birthday last month and as usual a few weeks before, I received a 20% off voucher in the post for the Early Learning Centre, courtesy of their Big Birthday Club.
I must admit, I really struggled this year as to what to buy for him. He's always been a very boy-ish boy, into his cars and tools, but his room is full of them and so I didn't really want to buy him more. It was by chance, that one of friends mum mentioned that he loves playing with their toy kitchen when he goes there to play. At last I had the perfect gift idea!
The Early Learning Centre is one of the few places I could find a kitchen that wasn't pink or covered with flowers. Come on toy designer people!!! Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Ainsley Harriott, men cook too you know!
I originally intended to buy the full sized sizzlin' kitchen at £65, but when I tried to purchase it online, I couldn't get the 20% discount because it comes with a free accessory kit. I had planned to try in store, but when I went to my local ELC, they had one out on display and I really wasn't impressed with it, when I considered the price. On my way out of the shop, the mini sizzlin' kitchen caught my eye....
** The Kitchen **
The Mini Sizzlin' Kitchen is blue and green in colour (although looking at the picture above, it looks as though colours may vary). It is quite small, however it opens up to reveal a two ring hob. The underside of the lid folds down to become a shelf and there is a removable storage compartment at the side for the cups etc. On the front of the kitchen is a small oven with controls.
** What's Included? **
Included in the price are the pots and pans, plates, cups, knives and forks, ladles etc, and various items of food, including burgers, hot dogs, lettuce, tomato, corn on the cob, buns and finger rolls.
** The Price **
The Mini Sizzlin' Kitchen costs £30 normally, but if you have a 20% discount voucher as I did, it brings the cost down to £24.
I'll admit that when I looked at it in the shop, I didn't really think it was worth the £30. However, seeing what's included and how much my kids play with it, I think it's well worth the £30 and a very good bargain if you can get it for £24.
As mentioned, all 3 of my kids really enjoy playing with this and their ages range from 14 months to (almost) 7 years.
When my wee boy opened this, his reaction was complete surprise, which he couldn't hide with his puzzled "a kitchen?!?". As I said before, he is a very boy-ish boy and was not impressed with receiving a kitchen, yet when he saw that it opens up and it includes burgers and sausages, he decided it was a barbecue, and was cooking us our tea in no time.
The beauty of this is that it's all compact and so it doesn't take up a huge amount of space which is a major plus for us. Another great advantage is that everything packs away inside. This is great because it means everything's kept together and bits are not so easily lost. It also means the whole thing is very portable which is very handy.
Overall, I really do think this is a fantastic little kitchen and I'm so glad I opted for this one instead of going with my original plan and buying the bigger version. I'm sure the full sized one is great too and probably has a lot more features. However, if you have a budding chef and not enough space for a full sized kitchen, I'd definitely recommend this.
Under your play kitchen reveal two hob rings: one boils and the other sizzles. Turn the hob over to use the grill that lights up and makes a grilling sound. Equipped with pots, play food and utensils.