We spent yet another Saturday morning at IKEA with the Huntlings. We can't go on Sunday thanks to Paramus/Bergen County's lovely blue laws. Good thing we're not observant Jews or Muslims, or we'd never get our share of the big blue store.
Over the years we've developed a love/hate relationship with IKEA products. Healthy skepticism because of the prevalent plastic and particleboard versus love of their low prices and egalitarianism. It's nice to have stuff that is actually designed for form as well as function, but is it so nice to have things be almost disposable in quality?
From their vision:We like that they are extremely kid-friendly. What other big store has such an awesome baby care room for changing diapers and breastfeeding (including a comfy armchair), yummy food, and play areas throughout the store?
The IKEA business idea is to offer a wide range of home furnishings with good design and function at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
Despite this, SillyBilly recently described IKEA as "stuff, stuff, stuff...not enough toys." He's still not completely toilet trained so he can't go into the big Småland play area yet, but he does love the paper measuring tapes and miniature pencils available in mass quantities.
Plus my maternal grandfather came from southwest Sweden, so I have a genetic love of Swedish things. My 2 year old already recognizes Dala horses and slurps up lingonberry jam.
There are a few things we've found that have become favorites:
Minnen Drake Dragon - Good protection against scary monsters.
Duktig play pots and pans - Good practice for those chores coming up in a few years.
Rens sheepskins - We used these in the bassinet and now as rugs in the kids' room.
Svit forks and spoons - Great kid-sized real cutlery.
Charm cheese grater - Totally cheap yet a great design.
Invitera teapot - Inexpensive yet a pretty color and shape.
Kladd bibs - Cheap and necessary when Napoleona only sometimes remembers not to use her fingers.
IKEA 365 big bowls and Rondo little bowls - We use these daily and they've lasted years with only a few chips.
And let's not forget the Swedish meatballs.