Self-Sufficient Kids in the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a wonderful place for kids, but could also present some danger.  When my little sous-chefs are helping me in the kitchen, we talk a lot about safety, and they know that the knife drawer is completely off limits unless they are being supervised (they are five and seven years old).  However, as they become more independent, they have begun to ask about trying to do more things for themselves.  They’ve been getting their own drinks for ages, and they always know that anything in the bottom fridge fruit drawer is theirs for the taking.  However, lately they have been jonesing  to make their own breakfasts, and who am I to squelch such enthusiasm?  While I am eager for them to take this to task, I did have some safety concerns.  Enter kid-friendly kitchen gadgets.

The first gadget I bought was a bagel slicer, or bagel “guillotine” as it was called on the box.  Yes, mom and dad, you were right.  They are great (they have been trying to buy us one for years and I kept saying “why do I need to have a bulky gadget to cut a bagel when I had a knife?”).  Since bagels are the breakfast of choice around my house, we do a lot of bagel cutting.  By using this kid-friendly gadget, the kids can slice their own bagels without fear.  Then, with the help of a step stool, they can even toast them safely, with the use of my next gadget….wooden toaster tongs.  These are another great invention.  They allow you to reach into the toaster and pull out your bagel (or waffle, or toast, or whatever) without the risk of burning those mini-digits.  My kids LOVE using both of these kitchen tools, and are so proud of themselves for making their own breakfast (now if I could just get them to wipe the counters down afterward, I’d be in business!).

The other kid-friendly gadget I’ve come to love is the apple corer/slicer.  I realize every one of these tools are breaking my cardinal rule:  no single use gadgets!!  However, if they help my kids to do more on their own (which translates into less for me to do), I’m all for it!  My kids are big fruit eaters, and apples are one of their favorites.  However, while one kid loves eating them whole, the other prefers them cut.  This apple slicer is the perfect solution.  Center it right over the top of the apple, press with all your might, and voila!  Perfect apple slices.  There were three different apple slicers from which to choose at my local kitchen supply store:  an OXO for $10, a high-end one that adjusted for different sized slices ($20), and a basic one made from recycled materials that had nice big, kid-friendly handles and was a fun bright green color for $6.  We opted to “go green” and have been happy with our choice.

Even if you are not a gadget geek, try these items and get your kids involved in the kitchen.  They make GREAT stocking stuffers for your little helper!


Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.


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4 Responses to “Self-Sufficient Kids in the Kitchen”

  1. zoe p. Says:

    I like this post. I don’t have kids, and I guess I have a very adult kitchen – no single use gadgets, knives everywhere, etc. But I love the adaptations you’ve made.

  2. Big Bob Says:

    Great post. We actually turned our kids loose in the kitchen over the weekend and were very proud of how they handled it. Full disclosure: our oldest is a ‘mature’ 11 year old and the cooking was Batter Blaster organic pancakes in a can.
    But still – they followed directions and the pancakes tasted great!
    A wonderful first step for the ‘3 musketeers’!
    Now, what should they make us for dinner tonite ……..

  3. Tracy Says:

    The more they cook, the better they eat!!! Thx for your replies! 🙂 Tracy

  4. Ray Lovegrove Says:

    Readers of your blog who are vegetarian or vegan and attempting self-sufficiency (at some level from window sill herbs to a full food producing farm) may be interested in a new, not for profit, website. The Self-sufficient Vegetarian can be found at: Readers of ‘Season to Taste’ can be sure of a great welcome.

    Thank you for an innovative and enjoyable blog

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