It is so easy to cook with kids and really you don't need a lot of additional equipment, most of what you use for your own baking and cooking will be fine. But from experience there are a few little extra's that I have found useful and that we use when Cooking with Kids especially with Toddlers and Preschoolers who have tiny hands and don't have the same sort of grip that we do. So here are my pick of the equipment that I consider really useful when cooking together.
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As a family we are trying to reduce our use of plastics in the home so many items that 8 years ago I would have recommended in plastic as they have broken and detoriated over time I have switched to metal, silicone or other materials so not only are these kitchen items excellent for your children to use but they are also much kinder to the environment.
Measuring out liquid and dry ingredients is not only great for a recipe but it's also working on motor skills with scooping and pouring. This set of metal and silicone cups and spoons is ideal for you and for the kids to use. The colour coordinated handles make recipes easy for toddlers and preschoolers that haven't yet grasped reading numbers as you can say grab the purple spoon or use the green cup to measure.
I have a collection of different scales that I use with the kids, however, the one that I use the most is my electronic kitchen scale. This is measures in g, oz, fl oz, and ml which means when combined with the cups and spoons above I can make most recipes that I find with the kids without having to convert anything.
Another essential that I use almost every time we cook together is our non-stick, non-slip, heatproof silicone mat. It makes mixing easy with the kids as they can put the bowl on the mat and it doesn't slip all over the place. A quick wipe down after that and we can then use it to roll out the dough. After baking, if we accidentally put the tray down on the surface I know that the mat isn't going to melt into the tray or damage my kitchen counters either.
Learning to use a knife for cutting and chopping is one of the essential skills in life. I started out with a Nylon knife set when my kids were young, they cut through most food that we used and wouldn't cut their skin or yours. They are also really useful for cutting lettuce as the lettuce then doesn't go brown!
Non-Essentials for Cooking with Kids
Ok so above are the things that I wouldn't be without there are a few more things that over time I have added and make the cooking so much easier than it was before.
A rotary cheese grater has made so many of our recipes that little bit easier like our carrot cake where the carrots need to be grated in or for the pizza's we love to make. I'm grateful for it as well because I don't know about you but I tend to scrap off some of my knuckles as well when I grate cheese. This rotary grater has different drums that can be used for finer grating or even slices.
It wasn't until my eldest started school that I got a stand mixer and wow what a difference it made to our time in the kitchen. Instead of me having to mix up doughs and batter the kids can do it all themselves. It's not essential by any means but just makes it a little bit easier and hands over more of the recipe for your child to do independently.
I've always had a wooden rolling pin it's fairly heavy but the kids have managed to use it with a little help. However, I cooked recently with a friends daughter and they had silicone rolling pins with wooden handles made for children. The size was perfect for her hands and because they were silicone instead of wood the cookie dough we were making didn't stick to the rolling pin at all!
Kitchen Helper Yes or No!
As they got a little bit older our small footstool (which I still use for reaching the top of the cupboards) was used and now my youngest (the taller of my two) stands without any step needed and my eldest the footstool.
However, if my kids had been young in the house that we now live in which has a lovely kitchen with space to move around in and plenty of workspaces a kitchen helper would have been on my to buy list. I love that it helps them reach the kitchen surfaces safely without the fear of toppling over which I had the one time we tried using a kitchen chair by the counter.
The Most Used Equipment in the Kitchen
Ok - so the item we use the most well it's got to be our cookie cutters and we don't just limit them for cooking. I have used them with play dough with the kids, putting some apple and leaf cookie cutters out with the apple scented play dough we made. Salt Dough Decorations for Christmas and to create some needle felted projects with the kids like the hearts and penguin. I have quite a collection now. I started off with some of the themed sets below and as birthdays have come around and the children have requested certain themes sets like dinosaurs, unicorns and frogs have been added.
I find myself baking a lot of cookies with the kids at Christmas and we like to mix it up a little so this Christmas Cookie Cutter Set with 18 different shapes was one of my best finds. I even find myself using some of them other times in the year.
If you are looking for quick and easy Halloween Party Treats then cookies are ideal we love making gingerbread cookies and using our Halloween Cookie Cutter Set.
An alphabet and number set of cookie cutters is so useful - you can use them to add fondant names to birthday cakes, add them to the play dough and help your child learn their ABC's as they play or make some alphabet cookies to use for spelling or sight word practice together.
You will never know how handy this set of shape cookie cutters is until you have them! Different sizes of the 8 shapes mean that you can easily create some stained glass cookies or even your own Jammy Dodgers no problem at all.
Gift Ideas for your Little Chefs
I've put together some ideas before on toys that are great for playing at cooking but I think it's also great to give a useful present for in the kitchen to the kids. Two of my favourites are a personalised apron and chef's hat.
My daughter has a "Nana little kitchen helper" apron that she's outgrown but was worn for many years helping my mum and mother-in-law in the kitchen. I've been looking at these I love Cooking personalised aprons that are on Etsy. Why not buy one for your husband and son to cook together? The words can be customised.
Of course, your apron needs a hat - although I will say this is more of a prop as the one that the kids have is used more for play that in the kitchen as they prefer it that way. These embroidered hats are great and you can get a variety of different sizes.