There is one inevitability when it comes to cooking with kids: Things are going to get messy. But despite the risk of getting flour all over the floor or eggshells in the batter, there are immeasurable benefits to getting children involved in the kitchen—beyond the simple enjoyment they get out of it. They can improve their fine motor skills, learn time management, practice math through measuring ingredients and become more adventurous with new foods. They may even gain confidence through their newfound responsibility, and learn resilience from failures and successes with various recipes.
These kid-friendly kitchen tools are handy for curious little chefs-in-training and budding ... [+] adventurous eaters alike.
You’ll want the appropriate tools for encouraging your budding chef. After all, if kids aren’t supposed to run with scissors, why on earth would we hand them a kitchen knife? But not to worry, there are all sorts of thoughtfully designed, kid-safe kitchen tools for little sous chefs that will help them prep, chop and cook safely.
As a parent, it can be hard to let go of control—and cleanliness—in the kitchen. But being allowed to work on meal prep or baking is like a rite of passage for kids. It says to them that they’re helpful and trustworthy, and it gives them the opportunity to be creative and have fun. You never know, when filled with pride after a job well done, your next top chef may even be inspired to cook you an entire dinner (or maybe just help with the dishes).
Kid-friendly counter stools and towers allow children to be involved in the kitchen at a young age, well before they’re able to read recipes. This birchwood model has an easily adjustable platform that will grow with your child, and its clean lines and design ensure that it will fit seamlessly into most homes. Kids can help pour ingredients, mix, roll out dough or decorate desserts safely, while boosted to an adult height. We particularly love that the environmentally friendly finish is easy to wipe down after a messy kitchen session.
Kids tend to shine in the mixing department, but the last thing you want is for an overzealous little one to fling a bowl off the counter with the flourish of a spoon. These nesting bowls have a grippy base and handles, which prevents slipping and sliding. They’re also made of sturdy, BPA-free plastic, so in the event that a bowl does take a spill, you’ll just be cleaning up its contents, not broken glass.
The thought of handing a child a sharp utensil seems on some level like bad parenting. But these kid-friendly knives—made from BPA-free premium nylon—will give you peace of mind. The serrated edges and non-slip handles offer more control and help your kid chop safely. They’ll learn proper technique with knives so they’ll be prepared when they’re ready to graduate to a next set.
Sure, these protect kids’ clothes from getting messy and stained, but perhaps more importantly, a personalized apron bestows your mini sous chef with a dose of respect in the kitchen. Minted offers a variety of options in fun prints and with cool details like a brushed copper buckle and customizable embossed leather name tag. Plus, you can add matching oven mitts to complete the uniform.
Weekend pancakes—and the ensuing carb-and-syrup-induced food coma while watching cartoons—are the holy grail for many families. These fun molds are great for kids and parents alike for create adorable shapes. They’re made from nonstick silicone and have tabs to make it easy to lift from the griddle. Even better, they’re dishwasher safe.
A salad spinner can be equally fun and satisfying. It provides an easy way to get your little one to contribute in the kitchen, and it’s low-risk for mess or injury (plus, it can keep curious toddlers occupied for a good stretch). In addition to drying greens, it can also be used to wash and spin berries, cut veggies or canned beans. The best part? If your child knows she helped make the salad, she might be more likely to actually eat it. This model has a non-slip base and a sturdy lever handle—both of which make it super easy to operate while keeping the bowl steady.
Many rolling pins are too large and unwieldy for littles to easily manage. This set comes as a pack of two—a traditional 17-inch size and an 8.5-inch one—so kitchen helpers have the option of using a smaller pin that better fits in their little hands. Plus, the rollers are made of non-stick silicone, and the set comes with a flexible, BPA-free silicone pastry mat with handy measurements printed on it.
The numbers on measuring cups always seem to be teeny or difficult to decipher for kids who are learning measurements. This one features easy-to-read numbers from both the side or top of the cup. It’s also made from BPA-free plastic so it’s safer than glass for littlest chefs, and it can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
It’s hard to explain why wavy and waffle cut vegetables are more fun and appealing to eat than regular cut ones, but they simply are. Kids will love prepping veggies, fruit and even cheese with this stainless-steel crinkle cutter. A helpful tip: Have younger children start by chopping soft veggies like zucchini or cucumber before eventually working their way up to firmer vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
Glossy photos, testimonials, clear steps and easy-to-follow hacks make this kid-friendly cookbook a winner with both parents and children. It offers more than 100 recipes that’ll give budding chefs culinary confidence, whether they’re looking for a fun recipe for a sleepover, inspiration for a family meal or an idea for a filling after-school snack.
Get children excited about experimenting in the kitchen with this cooking club exclusively for kids ages four through 14. How it works: A themed culinary kit is delivered to your door each month, complete with three step-by-step recipe guides, a kitchen tool, collectibles like conversation cards or an apron patch, a creative kitchen project, three culinary skill lessons and a complete grocery list. There’s also a members-only digital library of additional recipes and cooking techniques. Note that ingredients are not provided, so parents are still doing the grocery shopping.
Cooking is just the first step. Motivate your little one to help with meal cleanup with these fun, multi-layer scrubbers. The set of three sponges feature silly, vintage-inspired breakfast food shapes: pancakes, bacon and eggs.