Creating a kitchen that is safe, fun, and functional for kids can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! With some thoughtful design choices and childproofing, you can transform your kitchen into a space the whole family can enjoy.
Choosing Durable and Easy-Clean Materials
When selecting surfaces, opt for durable and easy-to-clean materials that can withstand messes.
- Stainless steel, quartz, and solid surface materials like Corian are good options. They resist stains, are non-porous, and hold up well to heavy use.
- Tile or stone can also work, just be sure to use a grout that can be scrubbed clean.
- Avoid porous materials like untreated wood that can absorb stains.
- Choose a waterproof vinyl flooring or tile floor that can be mopped frequently.
- Hardwood with a protective finish can also handle spills and messes.
- Skip carpeting which absorbs spills and is hard to clean.
- Opt for quality wood cabinets and drawers that will endure regular opening and closing.
- Metal can dent easily under hard use.
- Have cabinets installed up off the floor so they are less vulnerable to getting wet.
- Washable semi-gloss or high-gloss paint prevents stains from soaking in.
- Use backsplash tile to protect walls behind the sink and stove.
Choosing Durable and Sturdy Fixtures
Select fixtures made to handle heavy use and daily wear and tear.
- Commercial style faucets or single lever faucets withstand constant use.
- Select a sturdy sprayer hose for rinsing dishes.
- Choose handles that are easy for kids to use.
- Look for appliances with stainless steel finishes that resist fingerprints and smudges.
- Choose appliances with simple, push button controls.
- Install appliances at a height kids can comfortably reach.
- Stainless steel or acrylic sinks resist staining.
- Undermount sinks prevent crumbs from collecting around the edges.
- Equip all sinks with protective pads to prevent scratches when washing dishes.
- Use recessed lighting or pendants with plastic or shatterproof coverings.
- Install under cabinet lighting to illuminate countertops for tasks.
- Select soft-closing cabinets and drawers to prevent slamming.
- Opt for easy to grasp cabinet pulls and knobs sized for little hands.
Creating Kid-Friendly Storage
Smart storage solutions can help kids access items easily while keeping the space organized.
- Use lower open shelving for displaying colorful cups, plates, and bowls kids can grab themselves.
- Limit higher shelving to rarely used items or decor.
- Install shallow drawers to hold utensils, snacks, and other handy items.
- Use deep drawers for large pots and pans.
- A lazy Susan in a corner cabinet provides easy access to spices and pantry items.
- Great for snack shelves so multiple kids can access treats.
- Use fabric bins and baskets to corral fruits and vegetables.
- Baskets are great catch-alls for toys that make their way into the kitchen.
- Mount hooks along the wall or on the pantry door to hang aprons, towels, and potholders within reach.
- Magnetic strips also hold knives securely out of busy hands.
Choosing Kid-Friendly Countertops
The right countertop height makes cooking and helping out comfortable for kids.
- A standard 36-inch high countertop lets kids stand on a sturdy stool to help with prep and cooking.
- Add a towel or foam pad to the stool surface for grip.
- Include a lower section in your kitchen island (about 24-32 inches high) for seating and helping with meal prep.
- Upper section can be standard height for adults prepping alone.
- Some companies sell counters that mechanically adjust from a seated height up to standard height.
- Expensive but can maximize functionality and grow with kids.
- Build in a lowered counter section with barstool seating for kids to color, play, or watch parents cook comfortably.
Choosing Durable & Easy-Clean Appliances
Appliances designed for daily use make a kid-friendly kitchen more functional.
- Opt for smoothtop ranges which wipe clean easily. Avoid coils.
- Select control knobs rather than touch pads which can be activated by little hands.
- Choose a microwave with a stainless steel or wipe-clean interior.
- Place at a child’s height or put a sturdy stool nearby for access.
- Look for models with hard food disposers and soil sensors to thoroughly clean dishes.
- Place dishwasher detergent and rinsing agent out of reach of children.
- Choose fingerprint resistant finishes for stainless steel fridges.
- Install at a height accessible to children.
- Opt for bottom freezers which are easier to reach than top freezers.
Kid-Proofing for Safety
Take precautions to keep your kid-friendly kitchen accident-free.
Install Safety Locks
- Use safety locks and latches on drawers and cabinets containing knives, cleaners, or breakables.
- Install drawer stops to prevent drawers from being pulled all the way out.
Use Corner Guards
- Adhere clear corner guards on sharp countertop corners and edges.
- Cushion island corners with foam covers to prevent injury from falls.
Mount Appliances Securely
- Ensure stoves, microwaves, and other major appliances are securely attached to walls/counters.
- This prevents tipping if kids try to climb on them.
Keep Cords Tucked Away
- Use cord covers or clips to anchor appliance cords against walls or counters.
- Store excess cord lengths inside cabinets to avoid a tripping hazard.
Use Back Burners
- Keep back burners on the stove in use, and front ones off to prevent accidental contact.
- Be sure pot handles are rotated away from reach.
Install Smoke & CO Detectors
- Place smoke and carbon monoxide detectors near the kitchen to alert you of danger.
- Check batteries frequently to ensure they work properly.
Creating a Kid-Friendly Sink Area
The sink area gets heavy use, so optimize it for children.
Lower Faucet Height
- Install faucets lower, between 26-32 inches above the floor.
- Allows kids to comfortably reach.
Stable Stepping Stools
- Provide a wide, anti-slip stepping stool so kids can wash hands safely.
- Look for models with handrails for added stability.
- Use soap dispensers that mount to walls within reach.
- Opt for automatic, touch-free dispensers to encourage hand washing.
Colorful Sink Accessories
- Durable plastic dishes in fun colors encourage kids to wash.
- Multi-colored scrub brushes make cleaning more interesting.
- Install drying racks low enough for kids to reach.
- Absorbent rack mats help dishes dry faster.
Child-Size Apron Hooks
- Mount apron hooks around 36 inches high.
- Encourage kids to don aprons and help out.
Designating Kid Zones
Create designed spaces just for kids.
- Use a low open shelf or fridge drawer for self-serve snacks and drinks.
- Baskets can help organize packaged foods.
- Use a corner banquette or window bench with storage for toys.
- This defines a spot where they can play while you cook.
- Install a cushy seat with storage underneath into an unused kitchen corner.
- Fill shelves with cooking-themed books and reading pillows.
- Build in a desk area with shelving for cookbooks kids can use for studying.
- Add a magnetic board to display schoolwork.
- Bring in a small table and chairs for doing crafts and playing.
- Store supplies in nearby low cabinets or baskets.
- Designate a chalkboard wall or install a large chalkboard panel.
- Let creativity run wild! Easily erases when it’s time for dinner.
Choosing Fun & Durable Materials for Kids
The right materials add comfort, safety and whimsy.
- Use a banquette or window bench with removable cushions to add soft, comfy seating.
- Washable slip covers make cleaning up spills a breeze.
- Washable cotton or synthetic rugs add cushion underfoot and warmth.
- Use non-slip rug pads and frequent cleaning to prevent tripping.
- Choose dish towels, potholders, and aprons in fun prints and colors to liven things up.
- Switch out frequently as stains accumulate.
- Durable melamine, plastic, or stainless steel plates and cups won’t shatter if dropped.
- BPA-free is safest.
- Stock up on kid cooking tools like nylon utensils, small skillets, and play kitchen accessories.
- Blunt table knives help them ”chop” safely.
Framed Kids’ Artwork
- Frame your kids’ colorful artwork and hang at their eye level.
- Displaying their creations makes the kitchen their space too.
- Use chalkboard paint to create writeable spaces on cabinets or walls.
- Gives creative expression right on the “fridge!”
Keeping the Peace at Mealtimes
Simple strategies make mealtimes pleasant andArguments-free.
- Cushy chairs help restless kids relax and sit through meals.
- Sturdy stools at an appropriately sized table prevent discomfort.
- Provide washable placemats printed with activities like mazes and word games to occupy idle hands.
- Writeable placemats with pens allow doodling and expressing creativity.
- Create a space like a banquette stocked with books, puzzles or magnetic boards to keep kids constructively occupied.
- They can play until food is ready.
- Play relaxing music in the background to create a peaceful atmosphere.
- Avoid loud, stimulating tunes before a meal.
- Insist TVs, tablets and phones stay off during family meals to avoid distraction.
- Encourage conversation instead of zoning out.
- Serve meals consistently at set times each day. Kids thrive on routine.
- Make clean-up part of the routine, with each child doing a simple task.
- Offer a few nutritious options but avoid overwhelming kids with choices.
- They can eat or go hungry until the next meal/snack.
- Compliment good manners and behavior at the table often.
- Encourage kids to “fuel their bodies” by eating healthy foods.
Engaging Kids in Cooking
Get kids excited about helping in the kitchen.
- Create illustrated recipe cards for favorite dishes that map out each step.
- Kids can lead, following along with the pictures.
- Cook together, assigning age-appropriate tasks like stirring, pouring, measuring.
- Doing it together makes it more engaging.
Meal Planning Input
- Ask kids to help plan the weekly dinner menus.
- Let them choose 1-2 meals and help shop for ingredients.
- Guide them through preparing recipes, teaching measuring and knife skills.
- Make it an opportunity for learning.
- While cooking, let kids taste (safe) ingredients to start learning flavors.
- Teach them to identify herbs, spices, and aromatics.
- After meals, allow time for kids to concoct their own recipes with leftovers or basic ingredients.
- Imaginations run wild when creating unique “dishes!”
- Turn snack time into a fun engineering project by letting kids build treats creatively with healthy ingredients like fruit kabobs, cracker sandwiches, or yogurt parfaits.
- The sillier the better!
Setting Up a Kid-Friendly Pantry
Keep the pantry stocked with snacks and ingredients kids love.
- Reserve bottom shelves for everyday kid snacks and foods.
- Bins or baskets help organize items.
- Stock portable, single-serve items like pudding cups, cheese sticks, and individual cereals.
- Easy to grab for kids.
- Let kids pick their favorite packaged snacks like crackers, bars, popcorn on shopping trips.
- Just be sure to limit overall junk food.
- Canned baked beans, pasta, soup, and fruit make easy meals kids can prepare with supervision.
- Use a can opener that is safe and sized for kids.
- Kids love dips! Keep small tubs of hummus, yogurt dip, and nut-butter on hand.
- Serve with dippers like pretzels, apples, and graham crackers.
- Make homemade trail mixes with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cereal, chocolate chips.
- Portion into reusable containers or bags for grab-and-go snacking.
Child-Friendly Cooking Tools
- Stock tools designed for kids like toddler-safe knives, rolling pins, and measuring spoons.
- Aprons, potholders, and oven mitts in fun prints inspire them to get involved.
Creative Ways to Use Wall Space
Maximize vertical storage and blank walls for functionality and fun.
- Use magnetic boards, paint, or wallpaper to create surfaces for displaying artwork and holding shopping lists.
- Let kids help decorate boards with magnets shaped like food, letters, and animals.
- Frame and hang favorite family recipes so kids can reference them for cooking.
- jot down modifications right on the glass as recipes evolve.
- Use photo ledges, clipping clothesline, or floating shelves to display favorite food photos or kids’ artwork.
- Group framed photos together for impact.
- Mount corkboards or fabric bulletin boards for posting calendars, schedules, and reminders.
- Pin up kids’ cooking achievements like new recipes tried or kitchen skills learned.
- Designate a section of wall for chalkboard paint.
- Kids can draw, write messages, practice writing, and more.
- Mount racks designed for spices to keep staples visible and within reach.
- Clearly label jars until kids learn spices by sight.
- Utilize wall-mounted knife strips, pot racks, and pan holders to get utensils off the counters.
- frees up space while keeping tools accessible.
Ensuring Success with Guidelines
Set clear guidelines so kids can use the kitchen safely.
- Supervision required – Kids should ask permission and be accompanied by an adult in the kitchen.
- Wash hands first – Hand washing prevents spreading germs to food. Use a fun soap!
- One task at a time – Focus on doing one job well before moving to the next.
- Follow recipes – Learn to prepare dishes by measuring accurately and following directions.
- Clean as you go – Wipe spills, wash dishes, and put items away to keep the kitchen orderly.
- Handle tools properly – Use knives, appliances, and hot dishes carefully to avoid injury.
- Taste slowly – Small bites, no double-dipping, and don’t talk with your mouth full.
- Ask for help – Questions and assistance are encouraged to learn new skills.
- Have fun! – Cooking together makes memories. Be creative and enjoy the kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kid-Friendly Kitchens
What is the best flooring for a child-friendly kitchen?
Durable, water-resistant vinyl or tile flooring that can be easily mopped is best for high-traffic kitchens prone to spills and messes. Seamless vinyl resists staining and cleans up well. Avoid carpeting or other fabric flooring that absorbs liquids.
Should I install cabinet locks in my kitchen?
Yes, installing child safety locks on lower cabinets containing anything potentially dangerous like knives, chemicals, or breakables is wise. Magnet cabinet locks, childproof latches