9 Tools That Keep Kids Busy and Completely Satisfied in The Kitchen While You Cook

published May 12, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Crate & Barrel, Maisonette, Montessori Services

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When my 4-year-old son asked if he could “ help” make breakfast recently, I immediately had a flashback to that memorable scene in “Big Daddy” where five-year-old Julian goes to pour himself some cereal and promptly drops the barely-open gallon of milk all over the kitchen. That mess didn’t have a lot of mise en place to begin with, so it can certainly make a parent wonder about the extent of kid-tastrophes that can be cooked up when the stakes are even higher in the kitchen.

Sure, the idea of letting children suit up as sous chefs in the kitchen is a pinch anxiety-provoking; however, the experience of cooking together as a team (or a whole family) and creating something that our own kids can take pride in and ownership of, is well worth it. If you have a picky eater at home too (I have two of them!), then perhaps some epicurean experimenting is just the thing to diversify their palates and get them comfortable trying new things on their plates. Plus, this gives you more time to focus on meal prep without as many interruptions in another room. 

From learning towers that help them get up close and personal with their food prep to miniaturized wares (like whisks and spatulas) that are small yet mighty, we’ve rounded up our favorite picks here:

Collapsible Learning Tower

With this stylishly versatile learning tower, your kids can always reserve their spots at the table (or counter). There’s a non-slip mat and “kitchen helper keeper” in the back for added security, as well as some cut outs on the sides for a little extra whimsy. But the highlights we love the most are the lightweight, easily collapsible design (small space-friendly!) and the erasable blackboard. 

Dinosaur Cutting Board

Slicing and dicing can be done on a traditional cutting board, but this super cute dino cutting surface works too. Plus, there is that phrase that says “Always be yourself, unless you can be a dinosaur — then always be a dinosaur.” If you can make healthy omnivores out of them, you’ve done your job! I like to give my kids easy fruit to cut, like melon or bananas. And if they take a bite to “test,” well, all the better.

5-Piece Mini Tools Set

This little tool set includes everything that a budding baker or home cook might need in their arsenal for cookies, pancakes, sliders, you name it. Flip, frost, mix, measure, pour — whatever they’re whipping up will be 100 times better, just because they’re doing it with some sprinkle-printed gear (it’s like pixie dust, really, makes it all magic!). 

Parent hack: these mini spatulas are secret weapons for us, too. Who hasn’t tried scraping jars clean of sauces and spreads with utensils that just don’t fit? 

Kids’ Apron (with Matching Adult Version!)

Have apron, will cook — well, that’s the hope here, at least. The wonderful thing about this apron is that it comes in an adult version, too, so twinning is on the menu! Peep that sweet fringe, embroidery, and fun splashes of color! It’ll make them feel like they’re playing dress-up. We also love this classic yellow version!

Le Petit Chef Knife Set

Babes and blades aren’t exactly a natural combination, but if you’re looking for safety, you still might want something sharp over plastic. This scaled-for-kids set features a built-in safety ring-equipped 4’’ stainless steel kitchen knife, peeler, and finger guard to hold food securely and protect knuckles while they cut. And it was named the best chef knife set for small children by America’s Test Kitchen, so it’s legit!

Plastic Mixing Bowl Set

A great set of non-slip mixing bowls is essential in any grown up kitchen, so finding one suitable for small hands is a certified win. We love the subtle strokes of color on these compact nesting bowls, and with the easy-pour spouts, transferring liquids doesn’t have to be frightening! My kiddo’s de facto job is stirring the pancake mix on weekend mornings, a task made even easier with these bowls.

Mini Cake Molds 

Not that cake bites need to get any cuter for your kids to love them, but when they pop out of an aluminum mold looking like emojis, well, cue all those heart eyes! Cake visionary Amirah Kassem (of NYC’s famous Flour Shop) agrees, just sayin’ 🌈 These are great to keep around for birthdays or kid-friendly pot lucks too.

Wavy Chopper Crinkle-Cut Knife

We have it on good authority that foods cut into wavy shapes just taste better. So, this easy-to-maneuver crinkle chopper is destined to be the thing that makes your veggie-averse tinies change their tune. Kiddie carrot, cucumber, and pepper crudite is on its way! (Bonus: this can also work with cheese blocks for cute lunchbox additions!)

A Subscription to Raddish Kids

This amazing subscription service was founded on the belief that food can bring families together, build communities, expand conversations, and strengthen relationships. Every kit comes with three recipe guides, a kitchen tool, collectibles (like colorful apron patches and table talk/conversation starter cards), a creative kitchen project, three culinary skill lessons, and a complete grocery list — and what’s even cooler is that ALL of the recipes are inclusive and culturally diverse.