Inside: A dozen gift ideas for a kid in your life. From the Galactic Recipes cookbook to the kid-friendly Ninja blender, these gift ideas will please your little chiefs and inspire them to get creative in the kitchen. Bon appetit!
We all want our kids to be healthy and adventurous eaters. Parenting magazines and books are filled with advice on how to stop picky eating once and for all.
If you read this advice, don’t listen because your kids won’t either. There are only two ways to raise kids who eat healthily: eat healthy as a family and cook healthy meals together.
Your kids can sense inauthenticity two grocery stores away. If you say, “Eat your vegetables,” but end up eating something less than optimal yourself and finish it up with a box of cookies, that’s what they will want to do.
The following recommendations come from my experience of being in the kitchen with my four kids. I know these are the things my little chiefs love or would love to have (and yours will probably, too).
If your kids are not big on cooking yet, know that just the right gift can spark enough curiosity to get them in the kitchen.
Cookbooks are an essential first step in inspiring kids to get busy in the kitchen. The trick is to leave the cookbooks in the areas where kids can casually come across them (especially when they’re hungry).
When my kids aren’t using them for cooking, they’re flipping through the pages to put in requests for me. I like the requests, too, since we all know how hard it can be to please kids. “Why is it this color? What is it? I’m not eating it.”
We have over a dozen great cookbooks that are written specifically for kids, and they are in pretty heavy rotation. My kids love almost every recipe in Williams-Sonoma’s The Cookbook for Kids: Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook. The design of Annabel Karmel’s My Favorite Recipes is genius because it stands up for easy reference while the kids are whipping up Avocado Frog Dip or baking Chicken Dippers.
My teenager is now in the growing-like-crazy and always-hungry stage of his life, so The Star Wars Cook Book: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes has been his constant companion. He is cooking his way through the whole book independently! Not only are the recipes healthy and yummy, but this book is also full of funny jokes. (Have you heard about a Harry Potter cookbook, too? We absolutely love it, too!)
Also, check out Recipes from Around the World set.
How fun it is to spend time with your kids in the kitchen making homemade ice cream, lemonade, or candy! (I use this model all the time because I don’t consume sugar; I need to make my own). And how does a house smell when you are melting chocolate for chocolate fondue? Mmmmm!
Taste science experiments are amazingly fun, too. They’re easy to set up with things you already have in your fridge/pantry. Just add a notebook for note-keeping. But if you don’t have time to set it up, a made-for-you science kit can help. Here are some of our favorites: Tasty Science Kit, Glow-in-the-Dark Candy Kit, and a Kitchen Science Lab.
Your child will surely discover joy in baking with this bright and beautiful baking set from Baketivity, designed specifically for kids. I love the recipe cards and the educational component. May I suggest you start with homemade croissants from In The French Kitchen with Kids? (Want to know my secret to speed up the process of making homemade croissants with kids? I make the dough in our bread machine the night before!).
Here are a couple of more sets that we love:
Aprons & Oven Mitts
Kids love playing dress-up, and wearing a cute cooking apron is just the thing to inspire them to get in the kitchen. A good apron can double up as an artist’s smock. We tried the fancy, stain-repellent, waterproof aprons, but they were too heavy. Those here are light, comfortable, and super cute. They come in two sizes, and the hat has an adjustable strap in the back.
But if you have a whole bunch of nephews and nieces (or if you are running an art/cooking co-op), you can buy this brightly colored 24-pack for almost the same price.
If you have older kids (maybe ten and up) who think the aprons are silly, they might go crazy over Star Wars or Harry Potter aprons. While you are at it, also check out the Mandalorian and this funny oven mitt (they never fail to make my 15-year-old smile) and Marauder’s Map kitchen towel.
Measuring Cups and Spoon
Measuring cups and spoons are my #1 favorite educational tool in and out of the kitchen. What is a better way to learn about volume, fractions, and conversions? Here is a pretty plastic set if you want to go frugal. And here is a slightly pricier stainless steel set that will last forever.
Kitchen Presents for Star Wars Fans
Got Star Wars fans? Imagine a huge smile on their faces when they unwrap a surprise Star Wars gift. As always, Amazon is bursting with pretty gifts for Star Wars-obsessed kids (and their parents). From Death Star Waffle Maker and toaster to hanging measuring sign, towels, cookie cutters, rolling pin, and spatulas.
Say, “Let’s make cupcakes!” and I bet you will hear a chorus of enthusiastic “yes’es!” From plain vanilla to a fancy concoction oozing chocolate, cupcakes are fun to eat and even more fun to make. Making cupcakes is a creative, messy, and super-fun experience.
Cupcakes offer lots of opportunities for experimentation, from fancy ones with piped roses to the simple boxed cake mix. Your kids will be even more excited if you give them the Curious Chef Cupcake Kit.
Handmade Christmas Presents Made by Kids
Start with The Easy Christmas Cookie Cookbook. Add a good-quality cookie mixer, baking sheets, gift boxes, and decorative tags and ribbons. What better way to spend time with your kids in the kitchen than making handmade presents for your friends and family?
There isn’t much cooking going on here, you might say, and you would be wrong. Experimenting with popcorn recipes is amazing. When we first bought our popcorn maker, I was worried we wouldn’t use it much, but it’s just the opposite. We use it all the time!
Not only do we love plain old popcorn, but so far, we also have tried cheese popcorn, pizza popcorn, caramel popcorn, peanut butter popcorn, taco popcorn, Snickers-flavored popcorn, and cinnamon popcorn.
My kids even like to make a trail mix of popcorn, nuts, raisins, and granola for a healthy snack on the go. Also, owning a popcorn maker ensures we have a weekly family movie night. P.S. We are trying Buffalo Wings popcorn next 🙂
I have two words for you: “Cookie cutters.”
You don’t feel all tingly when you hear these two words? It must be just me. I have over a hundred cookie cutters (but who’s counting). Dinosaurs, Star Wars, gingerbread men, flowers, angels, ballerinas, and so many more.
Cookie cutters are not just for cookies. They are a constant source of inspiration in our house. We use them for pumpkin carving, as salad molds, for play-dough play, and to make clay ornaments.
And, yes, we use them for cookies, too.
Buy this sturdy seasonal set if you want some traditional shapes like stars and angels; you will love this 5-piece set. Or surprise your kids with their favorite characters.
Personalized Cutting Board
Would your kids be more likely to help you cut vegetables for soup if they had their own personalized cutting board?
I have noticed a recently growing movement toward kid safety in the kitchen. Kids now even have special safety knives that keep juniors’ fingers safe. Honestly, I just go with the real thing – good old knives (we sharpen them together), and everyone’s fingers are still intact. But what I think my kids will surely appreciate is a good quality cutting board with their name on it.
Smoothies and milkshakes were one of the first things my kids helped me make in the kitchen. Now, they are pros. I love this portable model because it doesn’t need to be plugged into an outlet, and it’s very easy to clean. We also like our traditional Shark Ninja blender, which gets cleaned easily in a dishwasher. And I have this mini blender on my wish list this year!