Kid-Friendly Kitchen Ideas: Making Cooking and Dining Fun for the Whole Family

If you have kids or are planning to soon, you might be looking for ways to make your kitchen more kid friendly. Maybe you want to teach your kids how to cook, prepare meals, and help with chores or just enjoy your dining space as a family. And some kid-friendly kitchen spaces may make it easier to sell your home in the future, if you decide to move.

Whatever the reason, there are some kid-friendly tips you can follow to turn your kitchen and dining room into a place the whole family will enjoy.

1. Install a kitchen island

If you don’t already have a kitchen island, you might consider adding one to your space. An island is nice for many reasons: it gives you another surface area in your kitchen and a place to entertain your kids while you’re cooking. It also helps put them on your level. Since your kids won’t be able to reach counters or sinks easily, adding stools or chairs to an island gives them a space to sit at for family conversations or work at when they’re helping you peel potatoes or measure spices.

The good news is, you don’t need to do a full renovation to add an island. You can purchase one in similar materials or opt for a wood top island to add warmth to your kitchen. It also doesn’t have to be large, so there’s no need for it to take up too much space. Plus, kitchen islands can add value to your home, which can make it easier for your real estate agent to sell buyers on your kitchen in the future.

2. Lower kid-friendly appliances

Maybe you don’t want your children cooking over the gas stove or using sharp knives, but you may want to teach them how to do smaller, more kid-friendly tasks. You might encourage them to make their own toast in the toaster, heat up leftovers in the microwave, or boil water for hot chocolate in an electric kettle.

The best way to encourage more independence in the kitchen from your kids? Move the appliances closer to them. The exact tasks and appliances will vary depending on your kids’ ages and skill levels, but placing a microwave on a lower shelf, for example, can allow them to participate in parts of the cooking process that are safe for them.

3. Add stools or install adjustable height sinks

If you want to teach your child to put their dishes in the sink, rinse their plates, and help load the dishwasher, you might need to offer things on their level. A step stool in front of the sink, for example, can help them reach the sink carefully and safely, so they can clean their plates and cups.

This also makes it easier for your child to wash up before dinner, clean their hands before helping you cook, and get into the habit of doing more tasks on their own, to help boost their independence.

4. Make a space for kid-safe cleaning supplies

Part of helping in the kitchen is cleaning up your mess. If you want to teach your child to pick up after themselves, you might want to create a designated spot with kid-safe cleaning supplies that they can reach. This way your child can clean up any messy sauce spills or crumbs using their cleaning kit.

5. Place dishes in easy-to-reach areas

Another way to grow your child’s independence is to store their dishes, like kid-friendly cups, plates, bowls, and silverware, in spots that are easy for them to access. Using a lower drawer to corral most of your kids’ dinnerware can be a good way to get them to set their own place setting, get their own snack from the fridge, or teach them how to pour their own drinks.

This also means your child can help unload the dishwasher and put their own dishes away. Just make sure their dishware isn’t heavy or easily breakable.

6. Keep snacks down low

Whether you have a pantry or use cupboards for food storage, make sure kid-approved snacks are in drawers or cabinets that your child can easily reach. This encourages them to pick their own food items at snack time and takes another task off your plate. If there are snacks or food items stored down low that you don’t want your child to reach, you can always add childproof locks to them to prevent your kids from opening them.

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