Let’s Play…


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I am pretty particular on the toys we buy for Rowan. I try to stick to toys that don’t have thousands of flashing lights and crazy noises and take all imagination out of playing. Of course, she likes what she likes and I can’t control everything so we do have some of those toys. You have to have a little wiggle room (or a lot) when it comes to your expectations and real life with your kiddo. Anyway, we are at the age now where she is getting old enough to play house and play with babies. It blows my mind that we are here already but, here we are! I was on a mad search before Easter for a non creepy baby doll. I highly recommend the one we got. It is actually pretty cute and the perfect size for Rowan. Over the next year for her birthday and Christmas I’d like to get her some of this cute pretend stuff.

You can see more of our on going Amazon wishlist for Rowan here.

Do you have any pretend kitchen or baby doll toys that are your kids favorites? We’d love to hear what they are!

  1. Rachel •

    Love the Madame Alexander baby dolls. Still have mine from when I was little (35 years ago) and only needed one trip to the “doll hospital.” My mom gave one to my niece last year for her 2nd birthday and it is her constant companion.

  2. We have the wooden play food. Is it too much fun! I love it just as much as he does. It is great for a pretend picnic with the blankets and everything

  3. My little girl is almost two and also loves pretend play. Her grandma bought her the American Girl Itty Bitty Baby, which Eva seems to like, but prefers to play with her teddy or soft toys. Also far as play kitchens, we gave Eva the Ikea one for Christmas along with a bunch of wooden pretend food: http://happinessiseva.com/post/18005158016/room-tour-evas-playroom I particularly like the brand Plan Toys.

  4. I really have to get my 1-year-old daughter some more of this play house stuff, too. She seems to like playing with kitchen stuff and fake food, and lately, she’s been tucking her stuffed animals in like they need a nap, just like Rowan was doing. Then she pats their stomachs like we do for her. It’s very cute.

    I was into Cabbage Patch dolls when I was little, so maybe I’ll have to see if those are still around.

  5. Lol at “non-creepy” – but a valid concern. I love the minty kitchen play set – who says children can’t play chicly!?

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. jess has that kitchen and LOVES it. i’m with you on the toys. i’m kinda funny too. i don’t like flashy bright battery operated plastic toys!

  7. I don’t really have any doll suggestions cuz strangely enough even my daughter isn’t too into them but one toy that we buy consistently ( to add to our stash) are Schleich toys…. they make all sorts of animal figurines that don’t require batteries or make noises and require 100% of imagination on the part of the child. Here is there website:www.schleich-s.com/

    Target and Toys R Us usually have a small selection too…FAO schwartz has the biggest selection I’ve ever seen but those stores are hard to find. We keep all of our Schleich animals in a big bin and I am not kidding when I say all three of my kiddos play with at least some of them on a daily basis. They are not cheap but the quality shows and more than once my 5 year old daughter has pointed out how *ahem* anatomically correct they are. hahahaha!

    Anyway, just thought I would share! 🙂

  8. I’m glad I’m not the only mom who doesn’t like the flashy battery operated toys. It is a challenge trying to figure out where to draw the line with the presents she receives.

  9. Thanks! I was wondering about the doll in your previous post. This is a helpful list.

    Vang 🙂

  10. Love the list you’ve compiled. We actually got our daughter the same play kitchen (in pink!) for Christmas and she LOVES it. She’s a little older than Rowan (21 Months), but was just about Rowan’s age when we purchased it. She has little tea sets and play food from Ikea and will play for a solid half-hour to forty-five minutes – straight before being distracted by something else. I highly recommend it! Makes me wish they had them when I was little;)


  11. Thanks for this post! I have a little girl (4 months) and love the suggestions you’ve made because I am working on an Amazon list for future holidays and birthdays. I love Melissa and Doug items. Hope you’re having fun with your cutie, Rowan today!

  12. I love this list, and I totally agree with you about toy selection. I do have that little bag of wooden veggies for my daughter and they are the cutest… BUT the carrots are really really pointy (like almost sharp) so we had to take those out of the bunch (the only carrots not good for eyes, I guess, haha). Thanks for the ideas!

  13. Awww I love the little market net bag for the food. So cute! I want an adult one.


  14. Love all of your choices. I have seen some cute things on pinterest where people took side tables and turned them into little kitchens, adorable. And the highchair we got for my niece for Christmas and it’s a great chair for a good price. (Mom got her the crib too, great deal.)

  15. I loved play kitchens! You should check out the play kitchen Young House Loved made for their daughter from a set of cabinets. So cute and made at home!


  16. a bought a melissa and doug felt sandwich set (http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Felt-Food-Sandwich/dp/B004C7S70W) for a friends two year old and she loves it! it is so freaking cute, i had to get it as soon as i saw it. i love that wooden fruit too, which the velcro to chop.

  17. LOVE the make pretend phase that has been developing with Amelia as well! (She’s about Rowan’s age.) She will hush and pat and kiss and sing her ABC’s to her baby doll, push it around in the stroller, make it dance, put it to bed, feed it, and blow it’s nose with a kleenex, haha! I love all your recommendations – the plan toys are awesome. We have a Corolle baby doll and we looooove it. It’s sweet looking, it’s eyes open and close, and its head smells sweet – not like plastic, more like strawberries, just ever so much – I smell her head all the time, haha! And, we LOVE all the kitchen sets from Green Toys – they’re made from recycled milk jugs, FDA approved to eat and drink from, and do not contain BPA, phthalates, or lead paint. We love them in the bath, too – they float really well, even with a little water in them!

  18. We just gave Ryann that play kitchen for her second birthday. She loves the little phone and pretends to wash her hands in the sink. Although she is still more into me reading to her (which I guess I can’t complain about) than playing with any toys.

    My only gripe about that particular kitchen… I got the kids baking set from Ikea, as well as a Melissa & Doug wooden cookie set, and neither baking pan fits in the oven. It is just too small. Overall though, it is a great little kitchen!

    Oh and the wooden food with a knife is a big hit around here. She loves chopping through the velcro.

  19. I’ve been meaning to comment for awhile but am just now doing so. I love reading your Rowan posts (well – all of course) because I have a daughter that I think is around Rowan’s age — 18.5 months? Isn’t the ‘mothering’ the most precious thing to watch?

    I can relate to the tantrums too though! The most endearing but potentially exasperating age yet.

  20. What about jumbo Lego? And toy cars? Don’t you want to encourage her to do something besides cook, clean and take care of a baby?

  21. Camille •

    My daughter is 4 now but she’s had this 3 tiered dessert stand from Toys R Us since she was 2 and my son who is turning 6 likes it just as much. It was also a big hit with 2 little toddler girls I was taking care of in my home. It’s plastic but has endured A LOT of play! Comes with a whole cake, a slice of cake, a doughnut, a brownie, a cookie, 3 cupcakes.
    My kids also love their cute little battery operated mixer .
    When they outgrow these items I am saving them for my new baby boy who is 3 months right now.

  22. Krystal •

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post Jen:):) thank you thank you!!! My little girl is only 11m now but I’m so excited for the baby doll stage, especially after having 2 boys who didn’t like dolls even though I tried;) the pram above is ADORABLE! And I love the kitchen! We have wooden play food and the Ikea toy kitchen… And my 3 year old boy loves the play kitchen:) it will be so neat to watch my baby girl like it too!:)
    Have a wonderful day and thank you for your blog!!!!

  23. Ahoy, I got my now 21 month old daughter Elliott that Kidkraft kitchen (in red) for Christmas this year and she absolutely LOVES it. I also agree with you on the annoying toys. I hate ugly plasticy toys and always try to find good quality wooden ones for my kids. I highly recommend the kitchen set, its beautiful and really well made. I also got a Melissa and Doug metal pot set and Schilling sock monkey tea set to go with it which work wonderfully and are very cute too. Its a great piece and i’m sure Rowan would love it as well, haha be warned though it takes some time to build! 🙂

  24. I spent HOURS looking for the perfect kitchen for my little man, but when I found the mini kitchen at ikea….we both fell in LOVE! AND it looks great, right by my kitchen….I am forever telling him that his is ‘ikea’ as in swedish and very posh…so get cooking tiger!

  25. we bought the kid kraft retro kitchen you have in the photo for our daughter Cosette. She loves it! she also has felt food from melissa and doug and ikea. they don’t hurt the dog when she tosses them across the room 🙂

  26. My parents wanted to get my niece (their first granddaughter) a kitchen this past Christmas so I reccommended that same KidCraft set. It’s ADORABLE and of impressive quality. To go with the set I gave her felt food from Ikea. They have a fruit basket, veggie set, breakfast set and a little cake/ice cream set. They’re all super cute and come with a ton of pieces for a great price — its a great buy. I also grabbed a Melissa & Doug grocery set and now her little kitchen is very well stocked.

  27. I love your list, everything you put on the list is perfect, I played with cabagge patch dolls. And I loved to play with the kitchen, the food, the dolls, dressed them up, all the stuff very mommy style.

  28. Do they make a real kitchen to go with that toy one? I’d like one for me, please

  29. baby stella is our favorite! http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Toy-130080-Stella-Doll/dp/B001R6W4KA
    we ended up with one, because our littlest is a stella as well but we quickly fell in love her adorableness and quality.

  30. Mary Ann •

    I love reading your blog – Rowan is adorable! It’s so hard to find a nice doll these days – I agree with you so many of them have the creepy factor. I bought my neice a Lee Middleton newborn nursery baby and she LOVES it. I loved it too, so much I almost didn’t want to give it up. It was a little pricey but it is made so well and holding it is just like holding a newborn baby. You can choose one with the eye color and hair color you want. Corelle dolls are also well made, soft and adorable.

  31. Love your wish list! We have many of the same items on our wish list for our 20 month old daughter Ellie. As far as dolls are concerned, Ellie really likes her “Baby Stella.” Have you heard of her? She’s soft all over, so no plastic face, which I think Ellie really likes. Here’s a link if you’re curious: http://www.manhattantoy.com/products/394028/Dolls (We have the “peach” version.)

  32. I spent a fair bit of college working part time at a specialty toy shop and got to know my brands/vendors. Corolle dolls are superb – the dolls are very lightly scented, machine washable (!!), and the company rolls out new clothes every season or so… all based on current French children’s fashions. Melissa & Doug, Plan, and Haba are my favorite “wood” brands, M&D being the more reasonable priced one (slice and bake cookies, so cute!). So not to be overly promotional, but check out Creative Kidstuff (.com); they’re locally owned in MN, ship anywhere, and have really awesome deals for their email crowd. Rowan is at such a fun age for toys, enjoy!

  33. I bought my son the play kitchen from ikea. We also got the felt food and the little pots and pans they had. He is going to be 3 in a couple days and loves being a chef while I cook.

  34. I’ve wanted to make my kids a better kitchen for years and I finally did in the fall- see here–

    My oldest is now 7 and my daughter is about to turn two so I suspect I can only add more to it so I’m not too much of a completist….. which is good because with three kids trying to finishe everything exactly would drive me boonkers.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

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