When your child is ready to step out of the play kitchen and into a real one, tools scaled for diminutive chefs will make cooking tasks easier and safer. A sturdy skid-free cutting board provides a proper work surface. A step-stool should allow the budding cook to stand tall enough at a counter to wield a knife or rolling pin at the proper angle and with the correct pressure. And an array of well-made kitchenware is sold online. Denise Landis has taught children’s cooking classes and has four children of her own; here are some of the best products she has found.
AWAY FROM THE EDGE
Seasoned chefs sometimes wear cut-resistant gloves to protect their hands from sharp edges, and it was a stroke of genius to make these gloves, of polyester woven with stainless steel, in a size for children. The design of the steel Polliwog knife allows small hands to get a firm grip on the handle while keeping fingers safely away from the blade. The glove, which fits either hand, should be worn on the one holding the item to be sliced. A tadpole-shaped sheath covers the knife when not in use.
Rachael Ray From Furi Polliwog Knife with Case and Glove: $19.95, plus shipping, from cooking.com.
Your littlest one can share the fun of cooking with older siblings by scrubbing potatoes using this mini-brush. With a wooden handle and stiff coir bristles, it’s a quality item that an adult should be able to use after the child moves on.
Down to Earth Mini-Vegetable Brush: $3.50, plus shipping, from forsmallhands.com, Item W30. Ages 3 and up.
Children can learn about the joys of freshly ground spices with this well-designed rotary grinder. Its rounded shape is comfortable to hold, and it easily grinds nutmeg, cloves and other spices.
Norpro Spice Grinder: $10.50, plus shipping,forsmallhands.com, Item D404. Ages 4 and up.
FOR THE BAKER
A rotary sifter is fun to use, but standard sizes are too unwieldy for a young child. This 1-cup sifter has a wooden handle and two wire agitators that smoothly sift dry ingredients for cookies, cakes and breads.
Harold’s Kitchen Stainless Steel Sifter: $6.50, plus shipping, from montessoriservices.com, Item D356. Ages 3 and up.
OUTSIDE THE JUICE BOX
While not designed specifically for children, this multipurpose tool is sized right for them. The base is a 2 1/2-cup measuring pitcher with a sturdy handle, and it comes with three grating attachments, an egg separator and a juicer. Rubber feet prevent slipping, and all parts store together tidily.
Norpro Juicer with Grater: $8.95, plus shipping, from montessoriservices.com, Item D346. Ages 5 and up.
An excellent first cutting tool, this chopper can be gripped on the top by two small hands and pressed straight down to make wavy-shaped slices of carrot, zucchini or other vegetables. The edge is sharp enough to do the job, but will not cut without pressure.
Joie Wavy Chopper: $3.95, plus shipping, from forsmallhands.com, Item D104. Ages 4 and up.
Oven mitts are a necessity, and junior versions are hard to find. Growing Cooks’ mitts for children are made exactly like their adult counterparts, with the same padding and lining, in nine colors. Don’t forget to buy two for each child.