July 28, 2014

Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage II - A Playhouse for Toddlers

I reviewed the new Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage II as part of the Step2 Ambassador program.  I think it's a great playhouse for toddlers and a nice indoor or outdoor playhouse.

On our quiet block in San Diego we're blessed with a lovely little mix of neighbors.    This summer Kayla has had the thrill of playing with one neighbor's visiting toddler grandson and taking on the role of "big kid."  Not only is it adorable, but the timing could not be better considering we are entering big sister land literally any day at this point.  So it was my absolute pleasure to park this new Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage II in their back yard as a surprise for his next visit.  And of course, I wanted to share it with you since I happen to think it's a pretty solid choice for the smallest customers in the home buying market.

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The Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage II is one of the smaller playhouses out there.  We actually had the original Neat & Tidy Cottage for Kayla when she was a toddler and it served us well.  This newer model has the same features I liked before and adds a couple of new ones.

For starters, I'm a fan of the pretty neutral (non-gaudy) color palette of this playhouse.  As much as I'm all for being kid friendly, I'm not the kind to park a neon pink playhouse in my yard or my living room. This house is cute, sweet and just sort of blends in to most landscapes without being an eyesore. 

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There is a swinging half door for easy entry that has plenty of clearance to avoid pinching fingers.  The built in floor helps ensure that when you think junior is playing in the house, he's not really digging an epic mud hole and eating the buried treasure if you use this house outside.  One of the biggest shocks I've had as a parent is the things you find yourself having to tell your young child.  Like "NO, don't eat your toe lint!!" I know, this mom thing is super glam...

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One new feature I happen to love is the built in flower box, which you can fill with real flowers.  Yes, I'm now in my 30's and I think this rocks.  Children are totally intrigued by plants so I love that Step2 thought to add this.  Of course if you don't fill it with flowers I think it works really well as a place for food storage.  Kayla and her buddy quickly filled it with food, phones, and other random objects.

Another new feature on the Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage II is the addition of a cute little outdoor grill.  It's a nice bonus and I like that it makes it very easy for two children to play together without having to compete for space.

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The one thing I wish this playhouse included that it doesn't is a few basic pieces of food for the kitchen so it's ready to go right out of the box if it's living at a relative's house.  However, the reality is that most people with children the proper age for the house already have quite the collection.

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The working doorbell and mailbox are nothing new to this playhouse, but I'm glad they stayed because there is no child who can resist a doorbell at their height.  Especially when they won't be restricted to one push of the button.  The good news is the sound is totally tolerable and not too loud.  The mail slot is cute and calls for a little creativity to make some mail that can be put through.  In the future I'd love to see a couple of durable letters that fit this slot included in any of the Step2 playhouses for outdoor use.

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My neighbor grabbed some basic play food from a friend and we were in business.  This little built in stool is just perfect for the toddler/preschool crowd.  Both kids took turns sitting on it and cooking or making phone calls on the included phone.

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The shuttered windows are excellent for peek-a-boo.  I know this because despite my total inability to bend and lean at this point I did it a bunch of times to play peek-a-boo with this guy.  Of course he was in ALL his glory manning his new playhouse and mastering peek-a-boo.

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So basically, I'm a big fan of the Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage II for a child from about 18 months to 3 years old.  My 5 year old still had a total ball playing in it, but it was clearly perfect for this little man at about 2 years old.  It's compact enough that you can have it indoors during the winter months and very durable yet unlike most larger playhouses, light enough that it's not too hard to move around.  The Step2 Neat & Tidy Cottage II playhouse is just hitting stores now so if you know a little one in the market for a home, or a second home at grandma and grandpa's house, I highly recommend it!


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Want to win your own Step2 Neat & Tidy II Cottage?  You can - check out the Step2 Neat & Tidy II Cottage giveaway
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