Ever since infancy, my son has been keen on spending time in the kitchen.
As an almost 3 year old, he usually prepares his own snacks and helps every night with dinner.
I firmly believe there is a place for children in the kitchen if you are able to allow for exploration and fun teaching moments – but you also need the right tools!
These are 10 of my favorite kids items for Montessori kitchens on a budget!
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(Always supervise children when using kitchen tools!)
1. Joie Wavy Knife
This is a great first knife for little hands! We started using this knife when L was 18 months since the wide handle allows for even young toddlers to use their whole hand. This knife has a blunt tip but will still cut softer fruits and veggies. This is a great starter kids knife to begin teaching the concept of cutting.
2. Nylon Knives
This is one of the best kids kitchen products that is still pretty unknown, but shouldn’t be! Made of nylon plastic, these knives are blunt but serated on the edge which allows them to cut firmer fruits and vegetables. You may have to teach your child cutting with a back and forth motion (unlike the Joie knife which just takes pressure to cut) in which case I’d start with a soft fruit, like strawberries, because it will take time for your child to learn how to apply pressure to cut with this type of handle. I love this set because it came with 3 knives and cookie cutters. They get used every day in our home!
3. Cutting Boards
If you’re going to be doing food prep and cutting, then you’re going to need some cutting boards! We like the natural look of bamboo boards like these, but we have some plastic cutting boards also which have worked well. The cost is about the same, it just depends on what you prefer. Here’s a good plastic set and bamboo set.
4. Citrus Juicer
Hand juicers allow for a simple kitchen activity which can be started as young as age 1. It expends energy, allows for concentration, and encourages tasting new foods. We love juicing oranges and grapefruits, and L enjoys making lemonade or limeade every few weeks with his dad. I tend to like the wide and shallow styles of juicers like this one because it helps prevent spills.
5. Mortar and Pestle
This can be used in so many ways! We’ve crushed spices, herbs, fruits, and even things we found on nature walks like leaves and acorns. You can start this in young toddlerhood! Find our favorite set here.
6. Broom & Dustpan
There’s a lot of options with brooms and dustpans, and we liked the simplicity and ease of this set. The ring handle allows for little hands to grasp it at an early age and it’s compact size makes it east to hang on a hook or slip under a kitchen shelf.
Duh! What’s a kitchen without sponges??! Use them for cleaning or water exploration activities. Natural sponges are great for young babes who love to squeeze!
8. Cookie Cutters
Whether used for baking, play-doh, or fun sandwich shapes, cookie cutters are one of those diverse items that are great to have on hand when the activity calls for it. Whether you want just a few simple shapes or the container that will leave you wanting for none, they are a staple to have in any kitchen with kids.
We like the peelers with thick handles that make it easier for kids hands. I’d definitely only recommend this for children who have good hand control. This is a harder skill to teach than cutting in my opinion, and remember to teach them to peel away from the body.
I loved these because they depicted the type of food you can peel with them. These were an Aldi find last year, and I haven’t seen a similar set since then, but this is a good one with a thick handle.
We have a glass pitcher with a lid readily available in the fridge for self-serve juice or water. We fill it up only about one-third of the way so he can pour it himself and minimize the spills. Definitely helpful for the toddlers who are learning and desiring more independence. We bought this pitcher from the Small Hands website for under $10, but Amazon has a similar glass pitcher for almost the same price.
And don’t forget an apron!
We adore the toddler and children’s aprons by Karla at Handmade Montessori! Check out all of her cute designs and prints here for your little chef!
What are some of your favorite kitchen tools and gadgets for kids? Share your ideas in the comments!