Perhaps we’ve been going about the roll out of the smart kitchen all wrong. Instead of debuting new, fully functioning–and expensive—smart fridges every year, we should just sit back and let KidKraft work its magic.
Last week at Toy Fair, KidKraft announced its Alexa 2-in-1 Kitchen and Market. That’s right, the wooden kitchen playset filled with wooden pans and fake food you remember from pre-school is getting an upgrade with digital voice assistance and RFID tags.
Like the name says, there are two parts to this playset, a market to buy things and a kitchen. But you actually have to provide your own Alexa device (presumably a cheap one you don’t mind getting banged around).
Alexa will work a little differently in the KidKraft playset. Instead of needing to say “Alexa” (which, if you have a kid and an Alexa, you know can get real annoying real fast), the smart speaker perks up when RFID tagged elements are placed in various places. As CNet reported from Toy Fair, place a hot dog in a pan on the stove and Alexa will respond with cooking noises. Or in another example, if a child “buys” lettuce, Alexa will suggest they make a salad with other ingredients.
The KidKraft playset will also play games and even tell dad jokes, which, as a dad, I am fine with.
There are, of course privacy concerns around bringing a smart speaker directly into the center of your child’s play. Amazon has not always proven to be the best protector of your privacy when it comes to the ubiquitous assistant.
But as with so many things in our connected age, your concern mileage may vary. You also have a more time to think about it as the KidKraft Alexa playset won’t go on sale for $300 on Amazon until next year.
But if you do choose to get one, don’t be surprised when you child starts expecting those same smarts (and dad jokes) in your real kitchen.