Step2 Announces the “Ultimate Play Kitchen Guide” and Creative Kids in the Kitchen Contest
Win a Frigidaire Kitchen Suite and Deluxe Step2 LifeStyle Kitchen!
STREETSBORO, Ohio — September 15, 2009 — From top chefs to top-rated cooking shows, America’s love of cooking is one of the latest trends to hit homes around the country. Just in time for the holiday wish lists The Step2® Company, the nation’s largest toy manufacturer, introduces the “Ultimate Play Kitchen Guide” on Step2.com, where parents can learn about the latest in play kitchen designs, read tips for picking the right play kitchen for their home, and also enter a contest where they can win a dream kitchen for both themselves and their child. Whether for boys or girls, experts agree that having and using a play kitchen in a home builds imaginations and cultivates a love for cooking while helping to promote a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
Barbara Beery, the author of 11 best-selling kids’ cook books and founder of the Batter Up Kids Cooking School, says that parents and kids cooking together is very important to a child’s development. “There has been an overwhelming increase in interest for having kids in the kitchen at an early age,” Beery says. “Parents recognize that even by starting with play kitchens during the toddler years, you are promoting creativity, collaboration and role modeling. It leads to a greater comfort level with food and hopefully a lifetime of creative cooking.”
For years, play kitchens have been a popular toy among girls but with recent attention on superstar male chefs, boys are getting into the act too. Today’s play kitchen has come a long way — many are built to mirror high-end kitchens complete with pretend granite counters and fresco painted backgrounds, while others mimic ultra-sleek modern looks with pretend stainless steel appliances and Euro-styled cabinetry. Step2 is the number-one play kitchen maker in the U.S. with eight different designs covering a variety of price points, home décor styles and play pattern needs.
Dream Kitchen Contest — Just in Time for the Holidays
To celebrate creativity in the kitchen for both parents and kids, Step2 is announcing a national contest that will award one grand-prize of a new dream kitchen suite from Frigidaire®, including a refrigerator, dishwasher, over the counter microwave, and oven, as well as a new Step2 play kitchen of their choice. The “Step2 Creative Kids in the Kitchen Contest” is asking families to submit an essay of 250 words or less on how they foster creativity when cooking and have fun in the kitchen together. Second place prize is a Step2 kitchen of their choice, while one third place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate good toward any toy on step2.com. For official rules and to enter, visit Contest.Step2.com.
Tips for Fun in the Kitchen
Not only does time in the kitchen allow for family bonding, kids can also benefit by learning about healthy eating, practicing fine motor skills (chopping, pouring, etc.), problem solving and arithmetic (such as measuring out ingredients), as well as focusing on safety and responsibility. Beery gives the following ideas on how to inspire a lifetime love of culinary enjoyment:
- Divide up tasks. As much as you can, get everyone in the family involved. There’s no reason why even the littlest chef can’t be helping by setting the table, wiping down the counters, or helping to stir contents in a bowl. The more helpers, the more fun!
- Promote problem-solving. Use this opportunity to show your kids what to do when things don’t necessarily go your way (as is often the case in cooking and in life!) Ran out of vanilla too soon? A little water in the bottle can help make it go longer without hampering the cookies too much. Spill the sugar on the floor? Take a minute to tap dance, giggle and then grab the broom.
- Relax and enjoy. The recipe might not turn out exactly how it was supposed to, there may be a few more ingredients on the floor to clean up, and perhaps it takes longer to make dinner than you thought — but nothing can compare to the feeling of accomplishment your kids will have when everyone sits down to eat a meal they helped prepare. Be patient and compliment your child for a job well done!
For more tips and to download original recipes from Barbara Beery, developed especially for parents and kids to cook together, visit Contest.Step2.com.
About The Step2® Company:
The Step2® Company is a family company with brands including Step2®, Infantino®, and Thinkativity® that foster learning and development through creative play in children from birth to school-age years. Step2, based in Streetsboro, Ohio, is the largest American manufacturer of preschool and toddler toys and the world’s largest rotational molder of children’s and home products, including children’s play kitchens, playhouses, outdoor toys and ride on toys, as well as home products such as mailboxes, gardening aids and trash cans. Step2, in partnership with Case Western Reserve University’s Schubert Center for Child Studies, sponsors CreativePlayPlus.com, an online resource to provide parents with the latest research on creative play and child development. Visit www.creativeplayplus.com for more information on this partnered initiative. Visit www.step2.com, www.infantino.com and www.thinkativity.com to learn more about The Step2 Company brands.
About Barbara Beery:
Barbara founded Batter Up Kids Cooking School in1991 and has taught thousands of kids to cook. She is the author of 11 best-selling children’s cookbooks and just launched an educational website exclusively carrying kid-friendly cooking products called kidscookingshop.com.
Dotti Franks, Vice President, Marketing Communications
Alexis Black, Current Lifestyle Marketing