The week or so ago we got a BIG, BIG box delivered to our house. Did I mention that it was BIG?
Inside was a fun outdoor toy from Step 2!
They sent us their new Gather & Grille Playhouse to test and review and boy were my kids excited.
Here is some info about the toy direct from the Step2 website:
Gather & Grille Playhouse™
For a sizzlin’ good time, gather in this playhouse with an extended area for grilling & hanging out with friends! Made in USA of US and imported parts. Accessories and electronic components made in China.
- Features an outdoor patio area with built-in “grill” and bench for two
- Built-in kitchen with sink and fun decals
- Electronic doorbell (requires 2 “AAA” batteries, not included)
- Dutch door and large windows
- Playhouse interior 54″ tall
- Includes 5 piece accessory set
- Minimal adult assembly required
- Featured on The Today Show! View clip
Take a peek inside the box:
Now normally I would have taken one look inside, saw all the pieces, saw the screws and RUN FOR MY LIFE and waited for my husband to get home to put the thing together for us. But I was faced with a greater challenge than some screws and big plastic pieces – MY KIDS WHINING FOR IT TO BE PUT TOGETHER. So I decided to try and tackle the assembly myself.
And you know what?
It wasn’t that bad. I needed a single screwdriver, some elbow grease and every once in awhile, my son had to hold something together for me while I turned the screw. I think it took me a little over an hour to put together. And the best part was that while I was assembling it, the kids kept themselves entertained:
All-in-all there were 9 steps to the basic assembly, then I had to apply the decals. Each step had anywhere from 2 to 6 screws (tip: use a drill if you have one…getting the screws started was tough) and it really went by pretty fast.
The decals were very easy to place. They were nice and thick and very sticky. I don’t think I had a single one go on crooked either. There was a chart showing what went where and it really brought the playhouse to life!
What really surprised me about this toy is that it actually inspired creative play. It’s not something I see very often between my son and daughter together. A 4 year age difference is often hard to span when it come to playing together, especially when one of them is only 2. But with the Gather & Grille Playhouse, they actually pretended to do stuff together, and my friend’s daughter was there too and all three of them participated. It was fun to watch, and it totally had their attention for awhile – well, at least until the girls discovered the mud and starting laying down in it:
But even covered in mud (and full of giggles), they both kept going back to the playhouse to play.
Things I liked:
- My 6 1/2 year old was not too big for it.
- Assembly was fairly easy, and I like that it was screws holding it together and doesn’t simply rely on the plastic pieces latching into each other.
- The colors are realistic, and the styling and details make it an attractive toy to have in the yard.
- The address plate, working doorbell, faucet, stove knobs and working grill lid are all special added touches to add some realism and fun.
- The openness of it makes it easier for multiple kids to play together, and for me to keep an eye on them.
Things I would change:
- They included a ketchup bottle, mustard bottle, and 3 grilling utensils with the playhouse, but no food. I would have like to see a few toy hot dogs and burgers included, especially because of the mustard and ketchup – it’s kind of weird to have those without the food.
Things to consider:
- The sink fills up with water and I have to tip the playhouse on its side to completely empty it. Not a huge deal for me, and the kids think it’s funny.
- The bench seat looks a little odd and unstable, but it’s screwed in at two places so it probably is stable and secure.
Overall I am very impressed with this playhouse and pleasantly surprised with the way it inspires their imagination. I know it is something they will play with for years to come and it will certainly stand the test of time to be passed on to other family members when my kids are too big for it.