Kids are born as natural explorers and their adventurous hearts will take them to the kitchen, ready to help you chop vegetables and bake cookies. Unfortunately, such exploration can lead to accidents if the kids are left unsupervised due to the many kitchen appliances and tools that are unsafe for the little ones.
Still, cooking is a life skill that should be instilled at an early age, so the only option is to ensure the kitchen is safe for kids. One of the best ways to get children involved in meal preparation is by allowing them to have their utensils.
So, let’s enlighten you on everything you need for the perfect kids’ cooking set.
It is an ugly sight when a person walks out of the kitchen with flour and sauces on the clothes, to serve you some food. Cleanliness in the kitchen is important, and aprons come in handy in facilitating this unwritten rule.
There are aprons in kid sizes, and you can even involve your children in picking out one that comes in their favorite colors. You can also get one with pockets to have a place for the young ones to place essentials, such as towels to wipe their hands while working in the kitchen.
2. Chopping board
It is no surprise to see an adult place a tomato on the palm and use the other hand to cut through it, without any nicks. Kids are yet to have great control of their hands, and such a stunt will earn them a visit to the emergency room.
You can avoid such incidents by getting your children a chopping board and ensuring that they learn to place anything that needs to be cut, on it.
3. Nylon knives
As much as your kids would love to assist in dicing onions and tomatoes, the regular knife is too sharp, and you will be worried sick if they get their hands on it. Thankfully, there is the option of nylon knives.
These serrated knives make cutting bread, fruits, and vegetables safe. While they are sharp enough to cut through the groceries, they cannot penetrate the skin.
4. Measuring cups and spoons
Many people joke that they will put spices until their ancestors whisper to them to stop. Kids are yet to know what a dash of oregano or a pinch of salt means so they might mess up a meal. Instead of using such vocabulary, introduce them to measuring cups and spoons.
According to w3onlineshopping.com, using measuring cups and spoons guarantees consistency meaning that results will also be consistent. This is important because once children notice their meals are ever tasty, they will be encouraged to keep trying other recipes.
Little bakers will enjoy whisking the ingredients before throwing them into the oven. Besides, the sight of bubbles as they whisk eggs and pancake batter will mesmerize them.
Of course, for toddlers, you will want to help by holding onto the mixing bowl lest the enthusiasm results in the bowl slipping. For the older children, teach them to hold on to the bowl while whisking and not to be too vigorous to avoid the mixture getting on their clothes.
Better yet, you can buy a mixing bowl with a silicone base to prevent such accidents.
When you want cheese for making pizza or are baking a lemon-flavored cake and need some lemon zest, a grater is instrumental in the kitchen.
There are many types of graters and you can opt for a rotary grater because it does not come into contact with the skin. Besides, it is made from plastic. Alternatively, you can go for a mixing bowl with graters; it has a silicone base, so there is no risk of slipping. It collects the shreds, reducing the chances of a mess.
7. Wavy chopper
If you feel a knife might be too bulky for your kid, why not get a wavy chopper? Wavy choppers for toddlers are small; thus, their tiny hands can grasp them. The Kavanaugh Report offers a few tips on introducing a wavy chopper to a toddler.
For instance, the author advises starting with soft foods such as boiled eggs before moving on to vegetables like carrots. Also, cut up the food into chunks before allowing your kid to cut them further; once they get better at it, they can chop whole vegetables on their own.
8. Vegetable peeler
You do not have to fret about kids cutting themselves because some vegetable peelers are bladeless but still do an outstanding job.
Get a peeler that also requires little effort to use; you can teach the child to angle the tool and let it slide. Other peelers with adjustable stainless blades reduce the strain on your child’s wrist.
Young bakers know the value of spatulas in the kitchen and will want this included in their cooking set. A spatula is a necessity in baking as it helps to scrape down the sides of the bowl when whisking the batter and frosting.
10. Vegetable scrubber
Kids are known for putting everything they get their hands on in their mouths, unaware of the germs they are introducing into their tiny bodies. You can prepare them from an early age to prevent germs through washing.
Since fruits and some vegetables are eaten raw, ensure there is a vegetable scrubber in the cooking set to wash them thoroughly.
11. Mortar and pestle
Kids can crush garlic and ginger using the mortar and pestle. Also, if a recipe calls for a mix of spices, this kitchen tool comes in handy. Ensure that you get the right size; as much as they are kids, a tiny mortar will cause the ingredients to fall out.
12. Apple slicer
Slicing an apple with a knife has the disadvantage of having to go at it once more to remove the core. Kids can use an apple slicer to eliminate such hassles.
It has handles that a child holds on to using both hands; a push into the fruit slices and cores it. It can also be used on other similar-sized fruits, such as pears and peaches.
13. Rolling pin
When rolling out fondant, cookie dough, or pie dough a rolling pin is a must. You can get a rolling pin whose handles are small enough for the kids’ tiny hands to hold comfortably.
A revolving handled pin requires less pressure to flatten the dough, making it perfect for kids. You can make it more fun by going for a rolling pin with patterns.
14. Hand juicer
Boost your kids with vitamin C from freshly-squeezed orange juice and lemonade. There are many simple juicers in the market and they come in a variety of colors.
Buy one that is easy to clean and allows only juice and not seeds or pulp to pass through; kids are stubborn and one seed can cause them not to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
15. Mini griddle
Once you feel confident that your kids can not only prep vegetables but can cook too, grab a mini griddle for them. It is so easy to use since all you need is to plug it in, and the griddle will indicate when it is ready to use when the light goes off. Pancakes and eggs have never been easier to cook, and your children will love eating food they prepared on their own.
16. Chef hat
Heroes wear capes, chefs wear hats, and kids want the whole package. Little chefs should be taught that hats are a safety precaution since they prevent hair from falling into food. For kids with long hair, buy a hat that can fully accommodate the hair to prevent it from being entangled in the kitchen equipment.
17. Stepping stool
According to The Strategist, a kids’ cooking set would be incomplete without a step stool. Kids are not tall enough to reach the kitchen countertops, so instead of having them sit on the surfaces, invest in a step stool. It should be sturdy to prevent falls.
Should You Allow Children to Help in the Kitchen?
The fear of cuts and burns lives in every parent who dreads letting their kids in the kitchen. However, the benefits the young ones could accumulate from assisting far outweigh any worries you may have. Some of the advantages of allowing children to perform kitchen activities include:
1. Fine motor skills development
Emerge Pediatric Therapy informs us that cooking activities are essential in developing fine motor skills in children. According to the article, spreading butter on toast, peeling carrots, using scissors to snip herbs, kneading dough and cutting are among the many kitchen activities that will assist your kids to hone their fine motor skills.
2. Develops math skills
Those measuring cups and spoons you might be hesitant to buy at first help in developing your child’s math skills. They get to learn the different measurements such as grams and milliliters when they get older. As preschoolers, they can learn how to count because recipes indicate the number of ingredients, for instance, two eggs or three tablespoons.
3. Builds comprehension and vocabulary
Kids also learn the different terminologies used in cooking such as whisking, spreading, stirring, beating, boiling, and frying among others. Following a recipe also demands understanding what each step entails thus they build their comprehension skills. Once you notice their comprehension is exceptional, after a while you can give them simple recipes for them to follow on their own.
4. Builds concentration
Adults are culprits of milk boiling over and cake getting burnt in the oven. However, kids who have been involved in the kitchen from an early age are less likely to have such accidents. They get to learn the steps of making meals after repeatedly following recipes. You should not be surprised that after gaining these skills, your kids focus on their academics and any other task at hand.
5. Reduces pickiness in eating
Woe unto you if you have older children who proved to be a challenge because they were picky eaters. You definitely would not want a recurrence of that in your other kids and one way to reduce the probability is to get your kids in the kitchen. According to Kvaroy Arctic, kids involved in meal preparation will be keen to try different types of foods.
As a result, they grow up ready to take a bite of broccoli and peas instead of pushing them to the side of the plate. Nutritionists recommend a colorful plate; kids eating varied fruits and vegetables boost their nutrition.
6. More creativity
Even chefs remind us that a kitchen is a place of innovation so allow kids to develop their recipes. If they want to try out a substitute ingredient from the ones mentioned in the recipe, let them because they will create new flavors. Besides, by allowing them to experiment, parents instill confidence in kids.
7. Sensory exploration
Pediatrics advise parents to allow sensory play, and one of the best places to start is the kitchen. Kitchen activities are playful to a child; kneading dough, tasting different flavors, and smelling ingredients allow kids to engage all their senses. Sensory stimulation is crucial in the general development of babies.
8. Family time
As you try to stay on top of the laundry, cook healthy meals, and keep the house clean, you might find the only time you are with your child is during meal times and when tucking them in their beds. You can rectify this by involving them in the kitchen; meal preparation may take a little longer, but the memories will last a lifetime.
9. Healthy lifestyle
As lifestyle diseases continue robbing us of our loved ones, you can do your part by teaching your kids how to lead a healthy lifestyle. It all begins in the kitchen where as they help out, they learn that carrots are not that gross, and that eating vegetables as a snack is great too. You can go a step further and take your kids with you during grocery shopping so they pick their favorite fruits.
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- 20 Ways to Get Your Kids to Behave in a Restaurant
- What Type of Parenting is the Most Effective During Adolescence?