It has to be said; I’ve taken full advantage so far of the fact that Harry, at 2, is happy pottering around in a play kitchen and keeping shop, oblivious to the fact that these will rapidly become activities associated with girls, and swiftly abandoned in favour of games requiring bravery, danger and copious amounts of dirt. Still, there’s one form of cooking that seems to unite men the world over, and that’s ownership of the BBQ; a testosterone-fuelled activity if ever there was one.


With that in mind, I’ve repurposed a small thrift shop table into a brand new grill for Harry (see below for the Before pics and stages).  With build-your-own kebabs that double as weapons, a hodgepodge of food made from salt dough and FIMO, and grocery-store paper plates and cups, it’s proving to be a big hit as you can see.  Leftover household items like an air vent, silver spray paint and a cheap baking tray gave the semblance of a gas BBQ, and a hefty dose of imagination from Harry has filled in all the gaps…

This was the starting point; a small wooden table I picked up for £8 at a charity shop.  It looks like it was once a play worktable, but came with no accessories other than a broken shelf, which I repaired and restored.

I painted the surface with black gloss paint and sprayed the legs and shelf silver, before nailing on a louvred air vent for the grill itself.  A sheet of dolls house stone-effect wallpaper provides the backdrop; I used PVA to apply this then varnished for longevity and to ward off wear and tear.

The kebabs are made from a cheap skipping rope; I unscrewed the heads, removed the rope and glued in lengths of dowel which I again sprayed silver (our whole garden has little patches of silver spray across it – I’m hoping my husband hasn’t noticed..).  I used a mixture of painted salt dough and FIMO for my kebab food, wiggling each onto the dowel before baking to ensure an easy fit.  These have been the biggest draw of all for Harry; the art of slipping them on and off, rearranging and – yes – tasting each piece, can be lots of fun.  Here’s a tip; if you ever decide to make a corn-on-the-cob using salt dough, find a good movie and arm yourself with a glass of chardonnay before you settle down to roll a hundred individual kernels…

Finally, how to fill the myriad of pre-drilled holes? Luckily I found this set of four thin-handled cooking implements in our local pound shop, and rolled each in brightly coloured gift wrap before varnishing. Hey presto, now Harry and his father can grill side by side this weekend (it’s a toss up whose food will be more edible!).