I Bought the Tender Leaf Toys Play Kitchen for My Daughter, and Here’s My Honest Review

published Jun 8, 2023
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Child playing with Tender Leaf play kitchen.
Credit: Cara Strickland

When I found out I was pregnant, I started thinking about a play kitchen. I’ve always been a food person. I write about food professionally and talk about it as often as I can. Although I had a lot of concerns in early pregnancy, one of them was that my daughter wouldn’t be a voracious eater. Either way, I figured a play kitchen sure couldn’t hurt. 

Even if food isn’t your passion, choosing a wooden play kitchen, wooden play food set, and play kitchen accessories can still feel like a big decision. They can be the anchor of a playroom or bedroom, and you can find a wide variety ranging from cuter-than-your-actual-kitchen to thing-you-don’t-want-to-look-at (and everything in between). Plus, there’s a pretty big financial divide, with some of them asking heirloom prices. 

After lots of internet research, I settled on a winner: this Kitchen Range from Tender Leaf Toys. My daughter has been playing with it for two years, so we’ve had real hands-on experience testing it out! Here’s what I think:

Why I Chose the Tender Leaf Toys Play Kitchen

Because I have access to Pinterest, I’d seen quite a few DIY IKEA play kitchen hacks — so many that I loved — but as I’ve written about before, I am not a DIY person. I’ve learned that it’s best just to admit that. This kitchen captured so many of the things I loved about my favorite DIY kitchens, but without my having to open a can of spray paint. 

Also, while I love the idea behind all-natural wooden kitchens, I knew I wanted something with color. I’ve long been a fan of British-based Tender Leaf Toys’ aesthetic and I knew that it was realistic enough to capture my daughter’s imagination, while also fanciful enough to look like it came out of a storybook. 

The Cost and Construction Details

The kitchen costs $299, which felt like a bit of a splurge, but not out of reach — especially considering all the extras it comes with. It’s just under 26 pounds and measures 35.8 inches tall, 11.8 inches deep, and 24 inches across. It’s made of solid wood, and, like their other products, is environmentally friendly and meets European, American, Australian, and New Zealand safety standards. All their products come with a 30-day warranty, which is on the short side, but hasn’t been an issue for us. 

Credit: Cara Strickland

What I Like About It

Unlike many kitchens, this one comes with quite a few accessories. I love the little herbs, and my daughter loves pumping the hand soap before she gets down to meal prep. There’s also a precious little fish with garnish, a couple of canisters, plates, and a kitchen towel. 

There is also a decent amount of storage built in, even though it doesn’t have a giant footprint, which is great for our old house and it’s charming 1940s rooms. We can hang kitchen utensils or potholders from the hooks, and the top is a great spot for play appliances or other accessories. And you can store things inside the oven, microwave, and in the two included baskets that slide into the shelves. 

As I suspected, it’s very easy to pair with the other kitchen accessories that Tender Leaf makes — they’ve made for great gift giving opportunities and it’s been fun to see things like the toaster and blender get incorporated into her play, along with lots of beautiful play food, of course. 

What I Don’t Like About It

Perhaps the only thing I’d change about this kitchen, though, is those baskets. I find the material to be a bit rough — but they are easy to remove or switch out completely, and the rest of the pros certainly outweigh that con for me. 

Would I Recommend It? Yes!

We get a ton of compliments on our kitchen, and have actually talked a few friends into it!

My daughter got the kitchen for her second birthday, and she’s nearly 4 now. Even though she can be a bit of a whirlwind, it’s still looking new. I was concerned that the paint might be an issue, but so far, so good. Plus, she’s just as in love with playing in it as she was back then. And while that doesn’t always translate to what she wants on her plate, I know there’s still lots of time. In the meantime, we eat our fish and drink our tomato and orange smoothies in style. To me, this all adds up to it being absolutely worth it. 

Cubby: Eat. Live. Play. Families Together at Home.

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