You can build a kitchen from cardboard or score one at a yard sale (like our $10 kitchen), for nominal costs. Really lucky folks may get hand-me-down kitchens from friends or family.
Our kitchen was bare bones when we bought it. It lacked any utensils or fake food. I was way too lazy to buy the food and utensil sets, so Ranger found it stocked with real kitchen items (duplicates, cast-offs, and rarely used items) and clean, empty food tins and boxes.
While Ranger isn't a dedicated junior chef (probably due to a lack of kitchen role models), all our young visitors gravitate to our pell-mell kitchenette. It actually gets so busy at times that I have to unearth a second phone handset so more of the junior chefs can make important calls.
Jim dubbed it the hobo kitchen because its cookware is primarily old food cans which had their lids removed with a smooth edge can opener.
The idea of a hobo kitchen charms me immensely, as my adoptive grandfather Lonz (Alonzo) used to tell me stories of riding the rails looking for work during the Depression so he could support his young family. I'm sure he cooked over his old tins in far less hospitable settings, but I like to think he'd be proud that those lessons he taught me about thrift and conservation are ones I value enough to share with the next generation.
Current contents of kitchen:
- plastic travel mugs that I do not like using in the dishwasher
- some polycarbonate food bowls with lids
- silicone ice cube trays
- empty tea and cookie tins
- clean, empty food cans
- empty salt shaker
- plastic drink mix container
- pot holders I made on a loom during childhood and a random promotional pot holder
- duplicate set of measuring cups
- canning funnel
- manual juicer
- potato masher
- baby food jar spatula
What kinds of things do you repurpose as toys?