The Boy adores playing with water. He loves washing his hands, the bath, swimming (mostly as long as his daft mother doesn't take him too far into the deep water!), filling up containers with water, and playing with watering cans. You may have seen that I recently set up a water play area for him in the garden, which he loves. If we are feeling in an adventurous mood, we let him play with the hose which is hilarious because he always ends up "soaky wet!".
So when we saw this rather marvellous contraption recently in Toys 'R' Us we really couldn't resist it. This is the Little Tikes 'Makin' Mud Pies' Kitchen (retails for £39.99). We're getting him a sand and water table for his birthday in June, but I'm a little
impatient, impulsive instinctive and so we went with my gut feeling that he would love it.
And he does, he really does.
Now I may let him loose with the water, but I'm slightly apprehensive when it comes to the 'Makin' Mud' part. (I really don't know why, because I used to be there in the garden behind the greenhouse digging in the dirt and ensuring that the consistency was just right for slopping and pouring. Just call me spoilsport mummy.) He has had lessons in mudpies from his five year old cousin, and it's only a matter of time before he tranfers these skills over to the kitchen, but for the moment, he's happy to play with the water functions.
The Little Tikes kitchen is fantastic and came along at the right time; he had started to become obsessed with turning the tap on and seeing the water gushing out. If I turned my back for a second, the little tike (ahem) was in the downstairs cloakroom splashing about in the hand basin. With this toy, he has his own tap and his own sink. The main sink and counter of the kitchen is actually a well for water which you can fill up and empty very easily, this also helps to weigh the kitchen down so it doesn't accidentally tip, or blow over in the wind. Into this counter is a moulded sink and a working tap! The tap actually pumps water out, but this is my only criticism of it; the pump action is at the moment very stiff and the water doesn't flow as easily as I think it should. However The Boy doesn't mind; he likes a challenge and it's his water so it doesn't matter. A bonus feature is that there is a bung underneath the plughole which allows for easy emptying of all the water, no residual ring is stuck anywhere in the mouldings.
The other feature of this kitchen is the mixer, used of course for ensuring a perfect consistency of mud. It's mounted on a stand on the counter, next to the sink and has a turn handle to rotate the sturdy plastic blade. It turns very easily although if The Boy gets the angle slightly wrong, it can lift up out of the bowl, but that is due to my 23 month old son's stage of physical development not a design flaw. He's actually put many different things in to mix including dried pasta and grass, but has never once thought about putting soil in yet. I'm sure the time will come! The set also comes with a sieve, a mixing bowl, a mould, a shaker pot, and two spoons; all of which are excellent for transfering water around.
I could draw on my teacher-knowledge and talk about the educational benefits of this kitchen 'til I'm blue in the face, but I'd rather let The Boy, and the toy, speak for themselves.