Tag Archives: Play Kitchen

Thrift Store Gems

I don’t usually go to the regular thrift store. We have better luck finding things at the kids’ thrift store. The regular store has so many breakables, and Jax does not like being contained while we shop anymore. So, I usually only go there when there is a specific house item I need.

This morning my thrift store “spidey sense” was going off in a big way. I told Jax we were going to the “toy store” (kids’ thrift store) after a quick stop at the regular one. I brought the Beco carrier and asked if he’d like to be carried in it so he could drink the orange juice I brought and he agreed.

We pulled up to the thrift store and were greeted by a huge heap of large children’s toys outside by the donation drop off area. I wasn’t sure if it was just a staging area or if everything was for sale. Some things were priced, but others were not. My eye was drawn straight to a pink wooden fridge. Yes, yes, yes! Ever since I got Jax his little kitchen and gave it a makeover, I’ve been hoping a wooden fridge would show up. It was packed tightly behind a air hockey table so I could only open the freezer. It had water damage like the other kitchen and a missing handle. (I realized the water damage is from the thrift store, not the previous owners. I’d thought it odd a wood kitchen had gotten wet, but it seems they leave them outside int he rain and just close the complex gate at night.) I was able to tell that both doors had working magnet closures and it sounded like there was a shelf rattling around in the bottom. It had a nice curve to the top of it that would help it match his stove.

Jax was starting to freak out a bit after about 2 minutes of me looking it over (he wanted to get down and play) so I quickly went in and did a sweep of the store. I found two scarves for me for $2 each. I took them up to the register before Jax totally melted down and asked if the fridge was for sale. They gave me a price of $10, which is the most I would have paid, and I bought it. I’m afraid I broke a set that included a broken sink and a stove, but oh well!


I’m pretty sure I’ll be painting it red with silver handles. I need to make a new handle for the bottom door. I’ll probably also get some shelves cut out of MDF at the hardware store like the two I added to the stove. The super thin shelf that is barely resting on some tiny dowels right now is worthless. So far I’ve just scrubbed it down and disinfected it.


We headed over to the kids’ store next where Jax is allowed to explore and play. They allow that there, as long as you clean up afterwards. I found him a toy cash register that is basically a huge solar powered calculator. It has some laminated play money in it, but no coins. It is by Battat toys and Parent’s magazine and is no longer sold. It was $2.75. For $0.75 more, I got a wooden fire engine puzzle to put with Jax’s other wooden puzzles in his room.

I’ve done other little thrift trips in the time since I’ve last posted about it. Ive included photos of what we’ve found.

Making (Wooden) Fruit Salad

So Jax adores his play kitchen… He asks to go “cook” by saying “Num! Num! Num!” – which is also the sound he makes when he “taste-tests” his culinary creations. I only want to fill his kitchen with sturdy, wooden food (I’m not a fan of plastic and felt would just be covered in dog hair) that will last. Two great brands for wooden food are Melissa & Doug and Plan Toys (The breakfast set is so cute!) Both are a little pricy (Plan more so than M & D). The craft stores around here carry a limited (but changing) selection of Melissa & Doug and when combined with a 50% off coupon, I can get a crazy deal!


Our second set of wooden food is the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Cutting Fruit Crate. This set helps with manual dexterity as you are able to chop up the fruit with a play knife. It is pre-cut and held together with Velcro. Jax will learn to match the fruit pieces together and recognize the insides and outsides of fruits. Later, it will help introduce the basic concept of fractions.

It was love at first sight with this set for Jax. It comes in a large, shallow crate which he brought over to his table, sat in his chair and started examining all the fruit. I showed him how to “chop”, which he loved. The velcro makes a nice “Crunch!” sound when you cut through it. More often than not he tried to cut with the handle of the knife, so he’ll have to practice that a bit.

The melon and banana are in multiple pieces that don’t stick together quite as well (because there are more parts), but Jax likes those because they are easy to pull apart with his hands.

He has already made me several fruit salads, so I think this set is a hit!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review and purchased the item myself. I just wanted to share what we thought of it!

Thrift Store Play Kitchen Makeover

After a weekend of working hard, Jax has his shiny, new custom “retro” play kitchen! I was so lucky to find a wooden kitchen with great “bones” at our local thrift store. It had a lot of water damage, a broken shelf and faucet and a missing door, but the clean, simple lines were perfect. (To see more before pictures, view this post.)

I started the makeover by deciding what I wanted the kitchen to look like. I had already used apple red spray paint when I created Jax’s chalkboard, so I chose that for the main body. His table and chairs are aqua and lime (as well and the shelves I recently put in), so those became the accent colors. I had some leftover glitter paint from a Christmas ornament project, and I knew that would be perfect for hiding any water damage I couldn’t sand out. Here is my color plan.

I started by scrubbing out the dirt and mulch in the cabinets then cleaning, sanding and priming the whole thing. I took the back two pieces off, as well as two knobs, but many screws were stripped on the rest of it. I ended up breaking off the knob discs to paint them separately from the dowels they were attached on. They were glued on crooked anyway, so I was able to fix that too.

I used a wooden J to replace the faucet

I used 2.5 cans of apple red glossy spray paint (and I ended up needing to get a mini can for a little more coverage where the clock had been.) For all the silver parts I used a mini can of silver spray paint, then a coat of silver craft paint and glossy varnish. The knobs got several coats of craft paint and glossy varnish.

I needed to replace the broken faucet, so I bought a large wooden J and attached it with a wood screw and E-6000 glue. Looks perfect! For the backsplash, I bought smaller letters to spell out his name. Those were attached with the E-6000 glue. My husband glued a small chalkboard I’d painted to the side with Gorilla glue.

The shelf was detached when I bought it, and it wasn’t hard to see why… It just had 3 tiny screw holes. A super nice Home Depot employee helped me pick out the right size screws, as well as which L brackets would work best to fortify the shelf. I chose to leave the brackets unpainted to match the rest of the silver.

The counter top got two coats of aqua craft paint, then 10,000 (or so) coats of my favorite glitter paint (which is more of a glue with lots of glitter). The burners were painted black, then got a very thick coat of black glittery paint (and a clear coat.)

I adore it! It looks perfect in the room, and Jax loves it already. I started him off with Melissa & Doug Wooden Pantry Products and the KidKraft Metal Accessories Set which comes with 3 pots/pans, a lid, 2 utensils and some wooden food. I’m really happy with both purchases. I wish the pantry products had labels on both sides, but they are nice, sturdy wood toys. The pots are holding up great so far, and Jax is enjoying the bonus food items: a chicken leg, fried egg, two carrots and two broccoli florets.

This was such a fun project! I’m already looking ahead to the next playroom DIY… a reading nook!


Kitchen Progress

Here is where I am after a day of working on Jax’s kitchen. I ran out of red spray paint and still need to do more coats to cover where the clock was. I need to touch of the silver and attach the faucet and knobs. The sink tub is all done. I have to do a few more coats of the blue on the counter and then paint the burners black. Looking good so far!

Friday Follow-up

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Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a great week! I’ve been super busy between work, rebraiding my hair and two large craft projects. Oh, yeah, and a toddler!

Jax had a spill yesterday while playing with sidewalk chalks with the sitter yesterday. He’s at that age where he thinks he is invincible (maybe that never ends for boys?) He took a few layers of skin off his forehead, but didn’t fuss about it.

Jax’s baby apple tree is doing great! So well that the roots were popping out the top and bottom of its little pot. So we went to the store yesterday and bought it a larger pot and some soil. It looks much happier!

I decided on my color scheme for Jax’s refurbished toy kitchen. I had thought about doing the tall cabinet as a magnetic fridge door when I got an amazing price on magnetic primer, but then I couldn’t get the door off! In the end, I decided I’d much rather save the primer for when I refresh his chalkboard. Then he can play with magnets on it! (I like these…) So the main body with be the same apple red as his chalkboard frame. the sink, door handle and shelf will get sprayed silver. The knobs are going lime and aqua to match his table. And the counter will be aqua. Because there was a lot of water damage on the counter, I will have to do some camouflaging there. I have aqua glitter paint if I want to do a retro glittery look then clear coat it. Or I can try a more speckled look. The glitter is certainly the easy route.

My quickly Photoshopped color plan (minus the clock)

So far the kitchen has been scrubbed, partially disassembled, sanded, and partially primed. I can’t take the clock hand off because they are on there with a strange brad. I’ll have to hand paint that area. My next step is to test the silver spray paint. If that works (I got a very small can) I will get it in aqua and lime for the knobs and counter.

Are Toy Kitchens For Boys?

I have my heart set on creating a little play kitchen for Jax in his playroom with adorable wooden food and a DIY kitchen set (my inspiration above is made by Melissa & Doug.) I think it would be a super fun project to take a piece of old furniture and convert it with paint and a little creativity. I loved my play kitchen as a child and I think Jax would too! He will be at the age where kids start playing pretend soon.

But, can toy kitchens be for boys? My husband’s initial reaction was no (and he is an amazing cook!) I say, why not!

What do you think?