Name of tester: Elizabeth Brown
Establishment name: Acorns Childminding
Age range of children: 6 months to 4 years
Product tested: Grill-and-Go Camp Stove
This imaginative play camping stove includes all the necessary equipment that your child needs to cook-up a pretend outdoor feast! This set features realistic sounds and lights and includes a coffee pot, pan and utensils for hours of camping fun!
How did you use the product?
Role play in our camp area and as a free play resource the children could get out and use by themselves. The children used it in an imaginative way to cook for the camp and for each other and baby dolls as well! The children impressed me by commenting that they were making tea so needed to boil the water first to make it hot. Younger children used it to make a variety of food and frequently opened it to use the ‘oven’.
What are the benefits of the resource?
Unusual to find a camping based toy and great to use in imaginative play as so many children never come into contact with camping style equipment. Buttons/switches aid fine motor skills and the lights and sounds allowed me to tick off ICT aspects of the EYFS as well as creative and understanding the world, in fact taking into account the speech and language recorded during play it covers the entire EYFS!!! All that’s missing is a camp recipe card/leaflet to go with it. I also love the way it all packed away inside itself for easy storage which is a massive bonus in a packed playroom.
Can you give some particular examples where the product has positively affected an individual or group?
Having a special new toy that we had to test was used an extra treat for a handful of children. Clip board and pen were assigned to one of my nervous new starters so he could be in charge of the testing process. Was lovely to see his little squiggles on the page and his happiness at having the special job.
What did you like/dislike about the resource?
Only one of our hob tops worked on ours but in my opinion the sounds should be able to turn down for a quieter setting as it made several of mine jump, although I fully appreciate you’d need that volume in a busy nursery. I liked the colours and how realistic it was in style, not made to look pretty and unrealistic. The cooking toys to go with it were ace, loved the folding handle on the frying pan!!!!
How would you rate the long term appeal of the product?
I don’t think cooking style toys will ever go out of fashion and this certainly appealed to our children as “being like our forest school one”. We work on a monthly topic on a 2 year rolling curriculum so toys always have a new feel having not been seen in 2 years since the last topic! I think I’ll be hard pushed to squirrel this one away though and is going to be a part of the outdoor toy box for garden cookery.
Is the product unique?
I’ve never seen anything like this which is why we were so desperate to give it a try!
Do you have any additional comments/suggestions about the product?
An excellent idea to encourage children into the outside world and to ask questions about ways of life they may not have experienced. Sadly camping is not something all children get to have a go at.