I have written before about the importance of involving toddlers in the kitchen while cooking and about how to make this time enjoyable and fun for everyone. The truth is that the tools you are using are an important part of it.
We started with very few things. When my daughter was 13-14 months old, I have noticed that she wanted to help with washing the vegetables so I gave her one of our two colanders and a vegetable brush. I bough her an egg slicer and I will never forget the look in her eyes when she cut her first hard-boiled egg: a mix of surprise, pride and happiness.
She also loved the salad spinner. This tool is easy to use by young children: all they need to do is to turn the handle on the top.
So that was our « start-up kit » :
Colander (adult size, but you can also find children size ones)
Vegetable brush (the one we have is made of untreated wood & free fibers, bought here)
Egg slicer (the brand we have is Westmark, Made in Germany)
Salad spinner (that’s an old kitchen tool, probably from a grandma’)
When they grow a little bit older, toddlers become interested in chopping. I am of the opinion that young children can be trusted when using a cutting device (knife, peeler, slicer…). If the device is safely designed and if the children are under an adult’s supervision.
You can start with a knife and a chopping board. Demonstrate the usage to your child. Start with soft vegetables and fruits, boiled eggs.
Knife (we love « Le Petit Chef » by Opinel. The price is rather high if you compare it with other knives on the market but it is very safe, child size, high quality, made of wood and stainless steel and manufactured in France)
Chopping (to go further and have more fun):
Egg slicer (the one we have is made by Westmark)
Apple slicer (found here)
Knives ( we have the ones from Opinel, from Bugatti and a bamboo knife)
Peeler (also from Opinel)
Vegetable chopper (found on a local shop bu also available on Amazon)
Herb chopper (bought on a local market)
Toddlers also love to help grate vegetables and cheese. We have a big grater for vegetables and a smaller one (in the shape of a little lady with a dress) for cheese and spices. The "little lady" grater is a star in our kitchen and my little one loves to grate cheese just for the fun of this tool.
Tools for baking
We bake something together almost every week so gradually I gathered tools that made things easier for both of us and helped my little one be more and more independent when preparing a recipe. What we have now:
Our kitchen is easily accessible for a toddler, everything is stored in drawers that she can pull herself. She has two dedicated drawers: one for the cooking tools, one for her plates, cutlery, glasses and cups.
All the other tools (big bowls, ramekins, pans, etc…) are used by the whole family and stored in the other drawers that she can access too.
Two other items, extremely helpful when cooking with a toddler are: an apron and a Learning Tower. We bought our Montessori-style apron on Etsy and our Woomo Learning Tower here. They are both hand-made with love in Spain.
Would love to hear about the tools you use when cooking with your little ones.