Most parents agree that the more a child helps in the kitchen the more likely it is that he will eat what gets put on the table. Cooking with your kids is not only a great bonding experience — it helps to create an adventurous palate in children. Let’s face it, it is easier to encourage a young child’s interest in kitchen activities than a teenager’s so it’s a good idea not to wait too long.
Sure it’s messy but it helps build confidence and self esteem. Plus, by the time they are ten or so you may be able to get them to handle a meal or two every month and give you some time off.
Since family time in the kitchen is becoming increasingly popular manufacturers are taking notice. Many companies have come out with kitchen tools that are designed specifically for children. They are smaller, shaped for children’s hands, and many times they are colorful and cute. These aren’t the flimsy little things that came with your Easy Bake oven. These are real kitchen tools for doing real chores and reaping real results.
Hints for Working with Kids in the Kitchen
- Teach good habits from the beginning.
- Watch them carefully to ensure that they are handling the various tools correctly.
- Introduce new techniques and tools one at a time and let them master one before moving on to the next.
- Make it fun!
Baking is one of my kids’ favorite things to do in the kitchen. Starting them out with specialized tools that fit their needs and help them to execute a technique properly is just as important as starting them out with basic reading books or math processes. They will build on these foundations for the rest of their lives.
Curious Chef has a child sized 27 piece foundation set for baking. it includes:
- Apron, toque, thumb mitts
- Cookie cutters
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Mixing bowls
- Rolling pin
- Pastry brush
The tools are dishwasher safe and BPA free. The colors are bright yellow and orange to make them fun to use.
Nordic Ware has several baking tools that I wouldn’t mind having. Two that come to mind are the giraffe whisk and the alligator rolling pin. Both of these items look like the animals right down to the colors, patterns, and eyes. The whisk’s handle is the neck of the giraffe and it has just enough bend in it to make it easy to grip.
Kids’ Prep Tools
Learning to safely use vegetable peelers, knives, and other tools for food prep is important. It is much safer when you are using things that are specifically designed with kids in mind.
You’ve probably figured out that Curious Chef has an entire line of products for kids. This set of prep tools is white and bright green and BPA free. The set includes:
- Vegetable scrubber
- Melon baller
- Nylon knife
- Apple slice
- Vegetable peeler
The knives really will cut but the child must use a consistent sawing motion which makes it unlikely that he will cut himself.
For Small Hands
For Small Hands has a rippled vegetable chopper that is easy and safe for kids to use. Sturdy, with a wooden handle, it will help your kids master knife techniques. They also have other prep tools like a small potato masher, whisk, juicer, grater, and even a grain mill that children can use easily.
Keep Your Eyes Open
These are only a tiny fraction of what is available to help you get your children into the kitchen and cooking. I often see products that are meant for kids in department stores, discount stores, and in my Internet travels. Just use common sense when choosing items and check for quality. Getting the whole family in the kitchen is a great way to bond, have meaningful conversations, and pass on your skills to the next generation.