The 2014 BC Guide to Choosing a Play Kitchen [And Buy-It-Now Prices, Too]

The 2014 BC Guide to Choosing a Play Kitchen [And Buy-It-Now Prices, Too]Play kitchens are on our all star toys list. They’re hits for both girls and boys from about age two to age five. With all the models out there, how can you pick the best play kitchen for your home?

This guide will help. It’s even got buy-it-now prices so you know when you’re getting a great deal. Enjoy!

Considerations

  • Consider your space carefully. How much room do you have? Would a corner kitchen work better than a straight one? Take time to measure your available width and depth before your shop.
  • Consider your budget before you buy so that you won’t be tempted to spend more than you should. Kitchens list from about $60 to $300 and up.
  • Consider checking your favorite second-hand sources for a gently used kitchen.
  • Does then kitchen need to allow room for more than one kid to play at once? A larger kitchen or a kitchen with two-sided play can help avoid squabbles.
  • Do you care if the kitchen you choose requires batteries? Most of the plastic kitchens need them to power lights, bells, whistles, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a “simple” kitchen. Kids are creative and will fill in for the missing bells and whistles with their imaginations. Electronic bells and whistles can get annoying for grownups, too.
  • Allow plenty of time for assembly. The wooden kitchens generally take longer to put together than the plastic kitchens.
  • Does the kitchen offer room for play food and utensil storage? If not, think about how you’ll corral those small pieces.
  • Be prepared to secure the kitchen to the wall if you think there’s any possibility of tipping.

Popular Kitchens and Buy-It-Now Prices

All of these kitchens are top sellers with great ratings. I’ve linked to these kitchens at Amazon so that you can learn more and read customer reviews. Unless otherwise noted, the appropriate age for these kitchens is 3 and up.

“Buy It Now” prices are what I consider “very good” prices on the item. They’re the best sale prices you can expect to find fairly regularly, based on records of previous sales. Don’t confuse these with the “lowest price ever” price. You may be able to  beat this price if you happen onto a unusually great sale.

Note that the buy-it-now prices may be up to 45% of the list prices. Expect to see lots of deals on play kitchens in the weeks starting after Halloween.

See the kitchens after the jump.

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Holiday Shopping Lessons Learned Last Year [That You’ll Want to Remember Now]

Holiday Shopping Lessons Learned Last Year [That You'll Want to Remember Now]Last year I asked Baby Cheapskate readers the following questions and told you I’d remind you of your responses as this holiday shopping season approached:

Did you learn any shopping lessons or make any shopping discoveries during this year’s holiday shopping season? What are you going to try to remember for next year?

Here’s what you said:

Shop Early

” Learned the early bird gets the worm. By getting up when stores just open I never fought any crowds. I also fought [no crowds] yesterday for returns at six stores. I got some great deals by being up early. I got some Amazon deals, American girl dolls, and more. I gave up sleep to save big bucks, crowds, and grief.”

“Shop early in the day. Except for Black Friday, few people hit the stores early during the week. Just the way our schedule worked this year, I did almost all shopping around 8 am and I always had plenty of selection, got the best deals, and enjoyed quiet stores.”

“For seasonal apparel (kids christmas outfits, pajamas, winter wear, esp from stores like Carters with mailers sent to homes) don’t wait if you really want something. Retailers rarely restock them once sold out- stores will always have more toys, they won’t always have your size clothing item. (So mark this under early bird advice).”

“I learned not to assume that a toy will be easy to find. My son vaguely asked for “Ninja Turtles” and with all the different ones out there I thought they would be easy and put them off to the end. But they were sold out everywhere! I could have saved myself a lot of time, worry, and gas money if I’d paid more attention.”

“Shop earlier online! Some of my items that had guaranteed Christmas delivery didn’t make it because UPS was overloaded. It was terrible!”

Or Don’t Shop Early

“Wait until close to Christmas to buy because kids change their minds a lot. Amazon Prime is an excellent investment. Black Friday sales are great, but usually the same deals can be had later. Not always, though. I did get a lot of good deals at Kohls for Black Friday online, and I think they only did the $15 Kohls cash and 20% off any order then.”

“I made the mistake of buying gifts for my family starting back in Sept so our budget wouldn’t be hit so hard come Thanksgiving/Christmas time. However, there were often better deals on the items I purchased as the weeks got closer to Christmas”

“i like to shop ahead because I hate crowded stores and last minute shopping. BUT, the prices were a lot better closer to Christmas, I noticed.”

Less is More

“I committed to three gifts per kid back in the summer but by the time mid dec rolled around, I thought it was too skimpy. My husband reassured me they would be fine with out gifts and stockings and relative gifts and he was right! I could have skipped stocking presents and they would not care. Three is correct amount for kids who are 1 and 3!! Just choose those 3 wisely!”

“I learned to buy fewer gifts, but quality ones. I wish I had saved some of the deals I found for birthdays and other special occasions instead of wrapping them all up for the tree.”

“Also when asking the kids what’s their favorite part of Christmas they gave answers that were all about the things we do together in Dec. Give the gift of memories not stuff. Need that reminder a lot in life.”

“Narrow kids gifts to Want/Need/Wear/Read (+ stocking) only … it focused my shopping, made for a more appreciative kid, and less random “stuff”

“Start earlier and enjoy the simple joys. Keep to the budget. When you’re done you’re done.”

Regarding Wrapping and Assembling

“Wrap as you buy  I say I’ll do this every year, but I never do. I’m tired of being up until the wee hours of morning on Christmas Eve.”

“Don’t wait til Xmas eve to assemble. We were missing a key part.”

Shop Online

“I learned too that shopping online saved me much grief. It also helped me stick to my budget.”

“Keep a list of online purchases and expected delivery dates.”

“I shopped online and didn’t miss the stores at all! It was so easy and saved a lot of money! I will do this next year now!”

“I did 99% of my shopping online. I may never go back.”

And Shop the Stores

“Shop online AND offline. I found some good offline details closer to Christmas, especially stocking stuffers. If I came across something in store I liked, I scanned it with Amazon app to see how prices compared before buying – Amazon wasn’t always better.”

“If you do the majority of your shopping online, you might be less stressed, but you’ll miss that hectic holiday-shopping feeling.”

And Other Smart Tips

“It’s a total gamble. Either you wait for a deal which might not come, or you buy it before it’s gone. There are things I could have saved money on if I had waited, and others that were gone by mid-November. So if you’re really set on something… don’t wait for a deal, IMO.”

“I have The Better Christmas List app on my iphone & it was a lifesaver!! Keeps track of who I need to shop for, how much I’ve spent (total and per person), what store each gift was purchased at & even a photo of the gift. I could never remember what I’ve purchased once it’s wrapped or hidden away, so that app was worth every penny”

“We paid cash. No credit cards. Much happier. We bought less. But no yuck bills in January.”

“Many stores will price match. Ask!”

“Homemade gifts are greatly valued. I make some of my gifts and have my daughter make gifts for the family when I can. Instead of giving your kid a few bucks a person, take time with a homemade gift (Pinterest inspiration) to save on your total Christmas bill. There’s plenty of homemade gifts that are way more valued than those you can just buy. I want to do more next year – so need to start them sooner!”

“When your husband says you have more than enough wrapping paper, don’t believe him” 😉

See the original Facebook posts from 2012 and 2013 to see all the responses.

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