Baby A started daycare and in my attempts to a) build good hygiene habits and b) protect him from the Rona, I decided that we needed a good Montessori setup that made it easier for him to wash his hands when he got home from daycare. In my opinion, there are two ways to do this:
- Get a step ladder or learning tower of some kind to bring him up to the same level as our sink OR
- Make a sink available to him at his level, this can be done many different ways (build your own sink, hack an existing play kitchen, etc).
I really loved the idea of getting him a play kitchen to help promote some independence on his level so I went with option 2. I may still get a learning tower at some point because I would love to cook with him one day, but our kitchen is so small that I don’t even know where we would put that thing! I decided the easiest way to do this was to hack together something using the infamous IKEA DUKTIG play kitchen! Here’s what I purchased:
- IKEA DUKTIG Play Kitchen – $89 – I love how cheap this is and that it has adjustable legs to grow with your kiddo. There’s also tons of resources on how to hack this thing to be infinitely many cute things. We will probably remodel this little play kitchen many times.
- USB Charging Water Pump – $30 – There are cheaper options but I liked the aesthetics of this one. We debated between using a raw water pump + raspberry pi system or building our own faucet, or buying a barsink faucet. In the end, I decided to use the water pump that attaches directly to those huge 5 gallon water jugs because we are new parents and I don’t want to overcomplicate it. This worked great because I didn’t even have to drill new holes into the DUKTIG countertop. The hose just fits in one of the preexisting holes and can just rest inside the clean water jug underneath the sink, pulling clean water out when it’s turned on.
- Two 1 Gallon Plastic Jugs – $20 – One for grey water, one for clean water
- Bar sink strainer & drain – $11 – I drilled a hole in the bottom of the grey sink bowl that comes with the IKEA DUKTIG and installed this to drain the dirty water into the grey water jug.
- Drain tap hose system – $14 – Attached this to the bar sink drain and cut the hose in half to fit in the small space. This helps the dirty water to drain directly into the grey water system.
Unnecessary extra stuff I added just for aesthetics:
- Clear waterproof contact paper – $6.50 – for underneath the sink to help protect it in case of plumbing leaks. I also put a layer around the sink as an extra layer of protection, and any other areas where I felt water splashed onto.
- Marble waterproof contact paper – $8.50 – for the countertop, just because. If I could do it again, I would pick wider contact paper so you have more material to work with for the countertop. This BARELY fit…it still bothers me.
- Blue & White Tiled contact paper – $7 – for the backsplash, just because.
- Large Cardboard Box – FREE – Used whatever I had laying around for when I went an online shopping spree and had things shipped to me. This was cut to size and taped to the back as a backsplash to protect our walls from water splashing.
- Energizer 2 pack Press Lights – $15 – Saw these at Target and couldn’t resist. Baby A loves clicking these on and they have a color changing setting as well, which is extra fun.
So the whole project ended up costing ~$200, but could definitely be done for cheaper! I splurged on a few things that definitely didn’t need splurging. Considering there are tons of play kitchens selling for several hundreds of dollars that don’t even have a functioning sink that dispenses water and drains it, I was pretty pleased w/ myself.
Side note: I did also use some extra cardboard I had laying around and made a tray like faux cutting board with faux wood and marble contact paper to cover up the stove. I chose to cover it up because I decided I didn’t want him to build up a false sense of “it’s okay to touch the stove because my play kitchen stove doesn’t get hot and hurt me!” Plus, the cutting board/tray is pretty much for fun at this point but probably also sturdy enough for him to do some soft cutting of banana or strawberries or something on when he’s older. Or I’ll find a better solution by the time he’s old enough to do that haha. I also plan to child lock the cabinet door shut under the sink, and to swap out the grey handles for something nicer. I’ll update this with pictures if I ever finally get to completing it. Haha.