Many, many years ago I had a large plastic kitchen in the housekeeping area;
My biggest issues with this kitchen were that it was bulky, a horrid colour and it was unstable. It was so easily pushed/pulled over by small children leaning on it or trying to open the doors that I always had to have it strapped to a nearby wall or heavy object. The thing that amused me was that the children often used the microwave as a washer – stuffing dress-up clothes inside the teeny tiny space to clean them.
In 2009 I replaced the plastic kitchen unit with wooden appliances built into the housekeeping area.
I had designed this washer/dryer unit because the children had previously shown interest in doing laundry during their dramatic play activities. They did use the new washer occasionally to wash clothes but the dryer was rarely used to dry clothing unless I suggested it. Maybe it was because the children were not familiar with seeing a dryer stacked on top of a washer but from the day it was first introduced the children used this ‘dryer’ as a microwave oven.
When the playroom was rearranged a couple years later I created a separate dress-up area and moved the washer/dryer away from the kitchen area and placed it in the new space. The children diligently continued to bring their food from the kitchen all the way to the ‘microwave’ in the far corner of the play room.
During my most recent playroom renovation I was unable to find a good location to put the washer/dryer unit. I wasn’t concerned about eliminating it since the children rarely used it. However, I did disassemble it and reuse some of its pieces. The ‘dryer’ door was added to a shelf in the housekeeping area to create a new ‘microwave’.
The children were thrilled. For weeks now they have been using this new ‘microwave’. Occasionally they cook food in it but mostly they think it makes a great garage for parking the cars which they bring here from way over from the far side of the room.