Review - The best toddler play kitchen toy (Melissa and Doug)
From time to time, we will be reviewing products that we have fallen in love with. Products that we feel will add value to your learning experience and bring lots of joy to your toddler. These products have stood up to in depth research and are truly worth lots of consideration. We can say without any doubt that your toddler, preschool age, kindergarten age and beyond will enjoy the experience these products will bring.
So, our first review, and one of the products we have been using for a long period of time is the Melissa and Doug Cutting Food Play Set.
First, some details on the set:
Number of Pieces: 25
Lead Free: Yes
BPA Free: Yes
Material: All Wood
Smallest Piece (choking hazard): about 1 inch
Recommended Age: 3+
The most noticeable thing about this toddler cutting set is the distinctive and quite frankly satisfying crunch sound that is made when the pieces are cut apart. Kids of all ages seem to love this noise and even as an adult, I find myself pulling the pieces apart, or even using the wooden knife to "cut" them. The Velcro that is on the pieces seems to be high quality and has stood the test of time with us so far. In fact, I see these toys being passed down for years to come as there is really nothing on them that can break.
This set comes with a real wooden cutting board. If used the way a cutting board is meant to be used, as in under what you are cutting, there is a satisfying chop sound that near perfectly mimics that of what is heard in a real kitchen. We like this aspect as it adds a sense of realism to the play and helps tune the senses into what will actually happen.
An added benefit of this set is the mathematics aspect that can be learned by toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners and the like. This cutting food set could easily be worked into any home school curriculum for kids from 3 up to 9 or 10. The watermelon, for example, has four pieces and can be divided into 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4, but 1/2 is actually 2 pieces of the 4 so it can be shown how to simplify the fractions. Playing with this set from an early age can help familiarize children with these concepts without them even knowing what they are doing.
As mentioned above, these pieces are solid wood. Since there is no plastic to be found, you can feel good about these going in and around you child's mouth, but there is also the luxury tactile feeling that is evoked by the solid weight of the pieces. When things are nice to touch, they are nice to play with and you child will undoubtedly reach for these toys during playtime.
An overlooked and unknown benefit of a set like this is the development of pre-writing skills. What are pre-writing ski lls you ask? I'll tell you. Pre-writing skills are the development of the coordination required to begin writing. This cutting food kitchen play set helps a child practice this coordination by mimicking the movements of holding the paper with one hand the pencil with the other. With this cutting food set the child has the hold the "food" piece with one hand and the knife with the other therefore creating muscle memory and coordination that will be useful in learning how to write.
A kitchen cutting food set like this encourages open-ended play. Play that is creative and independent with no rules, regulations or oversight required. The child can play with it as a kitchen set or something completely different than the intention of the product. It encourages creativity and use of the imagination to construct a new world in which the objects become something different.
The last, and unintended benefit of this set is the great wooden tray that all of the pieces come in. If you follow our Instagram, you have seen a similar tray. We use it for tons of activities as it allows our daughter to focus only on what is in the tray limiting distractions. It is a great little extra that may be overlooked.
If you are looking for a new toy for you child/children and want to encourage some good habits and have something that will last a while, we think you should give this Melissaa and Doug Kitchen Cutting food play set a serious look. And, for $16.99 you can't beat the price.
Thanks, for reading!