Cooking with kids is an excellent way for spending a great family bonding time. It also allows you to teach them about healthy diet and help them overcome being put off by the mere sight of broccoli. Not to mention that it can really be fun. However, kitchens can be a dangerous place with all the sharp objects, electricity, hot stoves, etc. To be able to include the kids in the kitchen, you will need to make some changes in the kitchen organization. Here are some tips that will help you accomplish that.
Deal with the height issues
There are a lot of things kids can’t reach in the kitchen. On the other hand, there are a lot of things kids can reach, but they shouldn’t be able to, especially if they are dangerous. The trick is to make the safe items accessible to them and to store the unsafe items outside their reach. Deal with the safety issues first, and make sure the knives and other sharp objects are stored on the top shelves, or that there is a safety lock on the drawers and shelves where you store them. As for the other part, empty out one of the lower cabinets, and stock it up with kid-friendly items (e.g., plastic bowls, cereals, granola bars, etc.). This way, your kids will be able to prepare their breakfast, snacks, and lunch boxes.
Reorganize your fridge
They will need some milk to prepare a bowl of cereal, right? Create one kid-friendly zone in the refrigerator, which will include containers of milk and yogurt, cheese sticks, vegetables, and fruits. This keeps them from rummaging through the fridge and eating some of the ingredients you have planned to use for meal preparation.
Choose kid-friendly appliances
Small kids shouldn’t be allowed to use the oven or the stove until they reach a certain age, but they can handle some smaller appliances. Equip your kitchen with small KitchenAid appliances, such as stand mixer or food processor, which can be used by children if you previously show them how to handle them. Soon enough, your little ones will enjoy helping you whip the cream for their birthday cake or prepare pesto for the pasta night.
Give them a workstation
Your kids will need some place to work without having to stand on chairs and risking to fall on the floor. Kitchen tables are usually a convenient place for that. Plus, if you move your operations there, your kids will be able to see what are you doing, and learn from you. If this is not an option, you can get an appropriate-sized mini table for them, and fit it into the available corner of the room.
Cooking with kids and organizing the kitchen afterward can turn out to be quite a mess. A few hours later, you will probably find oregano in the drawer with spoons and knives. To prevent this from happening, you can label things, such as seasoning, flour, etc., and put matching labels on the drawers and cabinets. If your children cannot read yet, you can always use photographs or drawings.
Compartmentalize the drawers
When the kids have trouble finding the things they need in the drawers, it can go two ways: they will interrupt your work process and ask you to get it from them, or they will turn your drawers into the picture of chaos. Neither of these two situations works in your favor. You can fix that by making your drawers more organized with compartments. For this project, you will need nothing more than a few plastic containers. Put a few of them into the drawers and categorize them.
Make it easy to clean
Easy maintenance is vital for kitchens used by the entire family, especially with toddlers and school kids. You need to choose surfaces that are not porous. While natural stone looks beautiful, it is also prone to stains. Quartz countertops could be the best option if low maintenance is your priority. As for the flooring, a high-end solution like hardwood is very durable and resistant to spills and impact. Laminate is a more affordable option with similar features.
Make it easy for kids to clean
Children should be taught to clean after themselves at an early age. But how can they learn to clean after themselves if they can’t even reach the sink? A bathroom stool could mend this problem. Also, the dishwasher is quite easy to use, and with some tips from you, your kids could become your little helpers. You just need to make sure the appliance is installed somewhere between the lower cabinets.
Cooking with your kids doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be turned into a joyful experience, but only if you make your kitchen safe and convenient for them. These hacks will help you accomplish that.
Will Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is also a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator. Connect with him on Twitter.