It hit me a few weeks ago when DT reader and Cargo Collective guru Amber sent along the cover of Ishikura Hiroyuki's DIY cardboard furniture book, Papa, Mama, tsukutte!: damn, that is a fine and simple cardboard play kitchen!
And I wondered what America's cardboard play kitchens looked like, and I confess, I was a little disappointed.
Kids on Roof, the Dutch indie company which did so much to introduce colorable cardboard playhouses to the US, did make the Cocorico Cardboard Kitchen. But honestly, it is more like a cardboard oven. A toaster oven, really, and barely that. You might as well glue a couple of Cool Whip lids to a Pampers box and call it a day. [Go ahead, try it!] Anyway, not currently available.
The Pop N Play Kitchen shows innovative spirit. It packs flat, and opens like a screen, potentially creating an entire playspace. It is also printed with unnecessary crap that you or whoever smaller than you must paint over. I guess that can be a feature, not a bug. But still. I want to like this more. It has much potential.
Meanwhile, my gosh, look at this entire cardboard kitchen set from Morii-shiki Kougyou. There's a kitchen, a fridge, and a microwave, straight up cardboard, and pretty clean. The double folded edges are a nice touch in that, "I don't want my get to get a cardboard cut" kind of way.
On the downside, they're sold separately. And only in Japan. And the Japanese word for playing house is o-mama-goto, mama things.