Play Kitchens For Boys: Mom Says Yes, Dad Says No

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Greg and I have been going back and forth about getting Jayden a play kitchen. Admittedly, a piece of me wants to get one for me, as I didn’t have one growing up.

Greg feels that Jayden doesn’t need a play kitchen… because it’s girly. He should have a workbench or a grill. I feel that he can have a workbench, grill, and a kitchen because real men know their tools and their way around the kitchen. Am I right? My hope is for Jayden to be a well-rounded, self-efficient individual. What if he marries a woman who can’t cook? Or what if she wants a break from slaving over a hot stove? Can she get a day? Just a day. What if Jayden stays single? I don’t want him withering around the house totally helpless, waiting for wifey to cook dinner (ehehm) or turning to frozen pizzas, hotdogs, pop tarts, and takeout.

Needless to say, I won the verbal scuffle. Oh, and helpless hubby is currently receiving cooking lessons from moi.

Where do you and your spouse stand on the boys and play kitchens debate?

Edited to add: We bought him a kitchen for Christmas and Greg made sure to throw in a drill set, lol.


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Sheena Tatum

is the founder of Sophistishe. She's a free spirit, wife, boy mom, rental rebel, curator of pretty things, lover of vintage pyrex, and the tropics. Sheena can be found in NW Indiana with her husband and two scrumptious boys, clutching kraft paper, chalkboard paint, sriracha and chipotle pepper. In the midst of motherhood, wifedom, and managing a growing collection of digital projects, she somehow manages to find zen in being a quirky, introverted, lil’ lady.

35 Comments

  • Reply November 30, 2012

    Sheena

    From my Google Plus page //

    Lucrecer Braxton: I am no longer married, but the kitchen is not gender specific. Many men cook. Why not encourage boys to enjoy cooking instead of thinking of it as women’s work.

  • Reply April 25, 2011

    Melissa

    I wanted to get one for Boogiew when he was smaller and hubby felt the same way. We decided to get a workbench. Two years later when Pookie was the age Boogie had been, we got him a kitchen. Both boys love playing with both items.

  • Honestly, I have two boys and the play kitchen wasn’t a debate at all. I’ve never thought of them being a girly thing. Granted I wouldn’t get them a pink set but other than that I don’t see it as a thing. At our once a week Early Childhood Education class there is about 8 boys to 3 girls and it is usually the boys playing in the kitchen not the girls. And again, I never saw this as weird. Warren loves to make me “food” to eat and he is my little helper in the kitchen.

    I try not to define their roles so to speak at such an early age. I don’t want my boys to get the impression that a man cooking is wrong because it isn’t. To me, a man that cooks is a strong man. :) And yes, my husband cooks although I do more of it. My husband can also clean and we share this role as well.

  • Reply April 22, 2011

    sharkbytes

    Definitely let the kids pretend to be whatever they want! I’m so glad my parents didn’t have gender issues long before that was recommended by the “experts.”

  • Reply April 20, 2011

    Jon Gray

    I had a kitchen set when I was little. My mom often tells the story of one of my early birthdays, when both boy and girl playmates were over at the house. The parents set the boys in front of my “boy” toys, and took the girls to the kitchen set. But, as time went along, all the boys gravitated toward the kitchen set and the girls to the “boy” toys. She still gets a kick out of it 25+ years later.

    For what it’s worth, my GF seems to be quite happy with the fact that her guy can cook…I doubt the development of my skills was completely rooted in the kitchen set, but hey, it certainly didn’t hurt. :)

  • Reply April 20, 2011

    Colleen

    @SheenaTatum Yay! My 2 boys have a play kitchen, a house, and loads of @MelissaAndDoug food / kitchen items on our lanai

  • Reply April 20, 2011

    Phil Pendergrass

    Zane did have one and I though it was a good Idea. There is nothing wrong boys playing cook. I love to cook .

  • Reply April 20, 2011

    Jena

    As I’m hoping my husband teaches our little girl a bit about cars and car maintenance, I certainly intend any sons we have to be involved in the kitchen. Tell your hubby to quit being such a chauvinist. Real men certainly should know how to cook–it’s a great way to woo women, after all–and besides, it doesn’t have to be equated with housework, which is what I assume he’s doing. The cooking profession is pretty much dominated by men. (Seriously–he should sit down & watch the food channel a couple of random days. They talk all the time on the contest shows about how difficult it can be to be a woman at the top of the field.)

    I saw a DIY play kitchen on another site that involved turning an old entertainment unit into a play kitchen. Would that make it less girly? http://designdazzle.blogspot.com/2010/01/tv-entertainment-center-turned-play.html

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Alisa N.

    I like that kitchen for him! M&D mae the best wooden pretend play toys. My hubby is a great cook and I thank his parents and sister for that :-)

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Michelle Pendergrass

    Men in the kitchen = SEXY. Teach that boy to cook. His future wife will love you.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Teresha@ Marlie and Me

    I agree with you and so would my husband if we had a boy. My husband is an excellent cook because her learned from his mama. There is no shame in his game. He snagged me with his culinary skills. Our daughter has a tool set and work bench and is getting a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday. I say erase the gender lines when it comes to toys

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    c l

    Yes! My grandson loves to whack things with hammers and use tools and play with their kitchen. He puts the “neighs” in the microwave. LOL His Dad loves to cook but also builds, etc. is an architect-all guy. Nothing wrong with that! There are famous men who have made lots of money being chefs and it is not for women only. So yes!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Joanna

    We have girls so I can’t really weigh in too terribly much. However, I feel as if I had a boy I’d get him a play kitchen. I def would make sure there was no pink, but there is nothing wrong with a boy in the kitchen! :-)

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    michelle riebeek

    Boys in the Kitchen? Awesome! Have you seen Top Chef! Encourage them! They can make their wives romantic meals, healthy food for their kids, become a famous Chef!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Kenesha

    I’m so glad you won this battle. More men need to be self-sufficient and learning and loving cooking now, surely can help. Also, tell your DH that the majority of chefs are men. I’m thinking of getting my boys a mini broom set because they always want to help me sweep and vaccum and goodness knows I could use the help! LOL!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    nan

    my son loved his play kitchen and now loves to help me bake in the kitchen

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Jenn

    Real men know how to cook. You should *see* (and *taste*!) some of the amazing meals my husband has put together, including our family-only Christmas Eve dinner and our romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Besides, a lot of us women are more than happy to “thank” our men for cooking a good meal, if you know what I mean. *wink wink nudge nudge*

    Dan and I pretty much see eye to eye over toys and activities for both our son (4) and daughter (6). Even when Ryan draws flowers and rainbows and bunny rabbits he doesn’t blink an eye. :)

    • Reply April 19, 2011

      Sheena

      Men who cook are supa sexay and are very *thank* worthy ;)!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Gloria

    We have son and daugter. They both just LOVE to play with toy kitchen and cook imaginary meals. Lets not forget that famous chefs are usually men :)

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    laura

    yes to kitchens for boys!! everyone likes to eat so everyone should know how to cook! cute kitchen and accessories!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Feliz4life

    How exciting! I have always held the belief that cooking should be a non-gender issue. Hubby is an awesome cook and I would be a fool not to let him do the cooking:) Yet, even he has his concerns about getting our son a play kitchen. In the end we compromised and settled on a grilling play set. But I know in the end BamBam will be in the kitchen cooking with daddy:)

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Lisa

    Of course! He could be the next Food Network Star! Lol I’ve seen plenty of play kitchens that have neutral colors so it’s a perfect toy to buy for your son. Look at him with the wooden spoon, he’s ready to get down and cook! Can’t wait to see what you buy him ;).

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Kristina Brooke

    Get the kitchen! It’s not girly at all! Cooking is a practical skill that should be taught regardless of gender. Additionally it is the perfect way to teach kitchen safety.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Jen

    @SheenaTatum – I say YES! My boys have always been interested in playing “cooking”. BTW-look at who the “top chefs” tend 2 be-MEN!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Mottgirl

    @SheenaTatum gosh..i give a resounding YES. My boys LOVE going to all girls houses/ikea…they get to play cooking all the time!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Nikki

    My son had one and he loved it. There are so many men out there that can cook, look at all those famous chefs. Of the two children my mom raised, one of us can cook and one of us can’t. My brother makes food from all over the world. I can make mac and cheese! So I don’t think cooking is a girly thing. Five years ago when I was looking at kitchens, most of them were in girl colors. I found a neutral one, but it seems like there are a lot more options today than even just five years ago.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Holly

    @SheenaTatum Really great post and I agree 100% with you. Also, play kitchens being seen as solely girl toys is pretty sexist.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Peggy

    @SheenaTatum that kitchen is adorable. My son stopped playing kitchen ages ago, and my dd plays in mine. Sigh.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Jenn

    @SheenaTatum my son has a kitchen. Learning to cook your own food is a survival technique! Never girly!!!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Tara

    Tell Greg he needs to have a play kitchen. How else is he going to learn that being in the kitchen is natural and then be able to whip up some mean spaghetti and meatballs for his future wife? I base all decisions on whether my future daughter-in-law will be pleased with me. LOL

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Yakini

    I’m totally in favor of kitchens for boys! So funny, DH and I were at this exact same place sometime last year. I had the opportunity to review a play kitchen and I asked him his opinion, and he was initially opposed. But then I broke down some of the points you had mentioned, and he realized it wasn’t a bad idea. So I got the kitchen (the colors of the kitchen are a very masculine blue and tan, btw), and Chase loves it. It’s one of his favorite toys to play with (after his trains), and he loves “cooking” his food and serving it to us.

    This is the kitchen he has: http://www.amazon.com/American-Plastic-Toy-Homestyle-Kitchen/dp/B000HVTIJQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303215933&sr=8-1 (It comes in various colors). I love some of that Melissa and Dough food you posted, so I think we may get some of that too.

    Yeah, its one of his toys that he constantly enjoys playing with and doesn’t grow tired of. Very few things keep his attention beyond a few weeks, but he’s had this kitchen for over a year now and he still enjoys it. He’s got a very basic, starter kitchen, but based on how much play he has gotten out of it I’m thinking we may step it up to a more advanced kitchen set.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Kathleen

    I’m also have the same feeling about boys and kitchens–they should grow up comfortable around them, including playing with kitchens too. We have a small, simple, colorful one (yeah, I admit, I really wanted it! I didn’t have one growing up either) that Soren does play with a few times a week. Just last night he was making tea for us, and was engaged for like a half an hour, which is a LOT for him.

    My husband was supportive of it, not that he would have gone out and bought one, but I thought it was a good investment, and so far it is! Ours is similar to this one, which is only $50.
    http://www.magiccabin.com/Mini-Kitchen_p3511_S2003_D1103_C2302.html

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Michelle

    Play kitchens for boys are a good choice. My son loved his. My preschool students always loved the kitchen area of my classroom. Think of it this way- a lot of the great chefs are boys. Does your husband do any of the cooking? “Playing” kitchen is a great way to pretend your a dad and practice your “dad” skills. Final word- no harm is being done by boys playing with kitchen toys. The opposite is quite true. They are broadening their horizons in an area we all must approach in our grown up lives. Plus, Melissa and Doug make it even more fun.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Liss

    I think that’s great! Even though Melissa & Doug do have some decidedly gender-specific toys, I love that they have even more gender-neutral toys! I think it’s an old-fashioned, antiquated and WRONG notion that something is ‘just for girls’ or ‘just for boys’. I let my students know that there ARE differences between boys and girls, but when it comes down to what someone can like, or want to do, it’s not right to say that, and I don’t allow it. If a boy likes pink, go ahead! If it’s acceptable for men to wear pink, why is it such a dangerous colour for boys? And who said girls have to like pink and dresses? I personally don’t care for either!

    I grew up learning to cook from both my parents, and got my adventurous food nature from my dad. Also my desire to fix/build things and work with my hands. Children want to imitate what they see adults do, and they don’t pay attention to those stereotypes. Those are things that are pushed on them by adults and media. If a boy or girl wants to dress up, or build something, or cook, they don’t care what they look like, they cares about having fun, pretending, and being imaginative. Isn’t that what childhood’s all about?

    So, good for you! And hooray for hubby’s cooking lessons too!

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Felicia

    While we don’t have a boy I would still want a play kitchen for him if we did. It opens the door to so much imaginative playing. Girly?!?! Please lol. What about Guy Ferrie (sp), from Dinners, Dives and Drive In’s, Bobby Flay, the guy from Man vs Food, Andrew Zimmern or Gordon Ramsey. All very much men’s men but they know their way around a kitchen. (after all they are some of the tops chefs/food critics in the world). Who knows maybe this will be start of what ends up to be an amazing career traveling the world and eatign/cooking . And if your husband is still iffy about it you can always play the its a chic magnet for when the little gets older. Because a guy that can cook is a real catch!

    Love the kitchen set. I love the color scheme and Melissa and Doug toys are the best!

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