These cute cookie cutters (ikea.com, $4) are the cheapest on our roundup and can be used for so many things in the kitchen: pastry, cookies, icing or even playdough. What I love about this set is that it features a squirrel — there are not enough squirrel-shaped baked goods in this world.
Foodie kids need a foodie T-shirt (etsy.com, $24). You only have to look at To the Moon & Back's reviews on Etsy ("Love the Shirt — Fits perfect, wonderful material and amazing design!") to know these T-shirts are worth buying. The seller also offers a cute foodie onesie for your little one.
The author of Kids' Kitchen (peekaboocreations.ca, $8), Fiona Bird, used her experience of cooking for a family of eight to write this fabulous set of vegetarian recipes. This large collection of wipe-clean recipe cards is very popular with my pupils. They love the colourful illustrations and tasty recipes.
From Fiona Bird: "Cooking with real, raw ingredients ensures that children have an inbuilt understanding of nutrition and a balanced diet, and that's before any mention of quality family-stirring-together-time."
When children first start using sharp knives in the kitchen, it can be a nerve-racking experience. The Kinderkitchen knife (amazon.ca, $10) by Kuhn Rikon is designed for small hands, so grip is better, and the knife has no point at the end of it. If only there were more animal-shaped kitchen utensils for adults...
Americolor is one of the leading brands when it comes to food colouring. These gourmet writer food decorating pens (vanillafoodcompany.ca, $19) might look like innocent felt tips, but they are filled with edible ink and will write on a firm surface. Children can use them to decorate cookies, gum paste, hard-boiled eggs and even milk jello.
You can never start too young when introducing children to new foods. This wooden sandwich-making kit (chapters.indigo.ca, $25), suitable for ages 3 and older, is full of different types of bread and fillings that stick together with Velcro to make a tower of a sandwich. Indigo also sells other lovely play food sets.
All good foodies, whatever their age, need a smart book to log all their culinary inventions. This Moleskine Passions recipe journal (deserres.ca, $26) features food calendars, food facts, measurements and conversions, along with six theme-based sections to fill in and six tabbed sections to personalize.
I couldn't resist this wooden Mighty Mixer by Hape (ape2zebra.ca, $30), so much so that I bought one for my niece a few years back. If grown-ups can have colourful KitchenAid mixers, then children should be able to have one too. And don't stop at mixers; Ape 2 Zebra also carries toasters and other play kitchen appliances.
Pasta-making is child's play, and with the Norpro pasta machine (amazon.ca, $44) and just two ingredients — flour and eggs — it is a perfect rainy-day activity. I use pasta makers in school with my students, and they love rolling the dough to get it paper thin and then forming it into different shapes or filling it to make ravioli.
Nordic Ware is the king of creative bakeware, and its shaped tins are worth paying that little bit extra for, as they are sturdy and non-stick. This cute backyard bugs tin (nordicware.com, $50) for baking muffins is one of many fun options in its large range of novelty tins, which includes Bundt tins in every shape imaginable.
This stacking set from Joseph Joseph (bestbuy.ca, $70) is not only colourful, but it packs away neatly, making storage easier. The food preparation set features mixing bowls with wide handles and non-slip bases, along with measuring cups, a sieve and a colander. Perfect for chefs young and old.
Many children dream of having a play kitchen, and the compact Step2 Cozy Kitchen (walmart.ca, $60) is suitable for both boys and girls. It comes with realistic features, a 21-piece accessory set and lots of storage space so things can be packed away when not in use.
Well Seasoned, in Langley, runs cookery classes for children during the school breaks. Chef Romy Prasad, who teaches the classes, has two young boys, so he understands how to gear the classes to their ability. Classes cost $55 per day and in 2013 featured recipes from around the world.
From Angie Quaale, founder of Well Seasoned: "These classes make a great gift for children. It exposes them to new food, new ideas and helps teach them a valuable life skill."
Curious Chef sells a great range of plastic and nylon cookery utensils designed for children. Every piece in the collections is bright and sized for small hands. This 15-piece pizza party kit (amazon.ca, $54) contains a special knife that can cut tomatoes and other toppings without cutting fingers.
For the child who loves chocolate, this professional-grade chocolate lollipop-making kit (craftmychocolate.com, $70) is for them. It contains high-quality chocolate, piping bottles, a polycarbonate lollipop mould and oil-based dyes to colour the chocolate. This is one of the best quality chocolate-making kits on the market.
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