If you've ever had kids with you in the kitchen, then you probably know that little ones often want to (or at least try to) help you out. When your kitchen is designed in a way that children can more easily hop in and lend a hand, then you can focus on teaching them your cooking advice and less on helping them navigate the nuances of your cabinets and drawers. Keep reading for some ideas from our real Cincinnati area kitchen remodeling projects.
The process of putting ingredients together with the promise of making something new out of them might feel a bit like magic or mad science to kids. A large island or a secondary island are solutions that can provide plenty of room to work where you can assist and observe, but where they can spread out a bit. This extra space can also work well if you have more than one child wanting to help. With this setup, they can feel like they have a place that's theirs, and their prep and mess won't interfere with other things that might be going on for the meal.
Even before you begin mixing things together, your child helper may want to feel like part of the action by bringing you the items you need, like mixing bowls or utensils. Including some open shelving in the kitchen for dishes, or storing your prep dishware in a lower drawer can make it easier for them to find these items. Having utensil drawers organized and separated by purpose can also help little and curious hands find the right things. You may even wish to include a drawer in your kitchen specifically for kid-friendly cooking items so you can direct kids straight to that.
Older kids can feel like they're the chef and critical to the process by using appliances in the process. As you think about the location and vertical positioning of your appliances, think about how easy it might be for a child who's ready for this step and responsibility to put a dish into a microwave, warming drawer, or even an oven.
Little kids are surrounded by fancy gadgets and technological wonders, but that doesn't stop them from being amazed by hidden details or unexpected tricks. Several kitchen cabinet interior accessories or fittings can accomplish this while still being a practical tool for you. You can use layered interior drawers for utensils, corner cabinet pull-outs for mixing bowls or pots, or any variety of custom pantry features so they can find ingredients and feel like they went on a mini-adventure full of surprises while doing it.
When all the making and baking is done, encourage your helpers to continue the job with the clean-up. While there are many ways they can help with this, one idea is to include a secondary sink or an extra faucet at the main sink so they can wash up the pots or prep dishes alongside you.
At some point along the way, your helping hand may lose interest in the process, or there may be a wait time when they can go do something else. In these cases, it's nice to still be together or at least in the same area so that they can be reminded to return when you need them. Having a nearby spot for them to go to that is still in view to you if you need to stay in the kitchen is great. Open floor plans are ideal for keeping tabs on kids that are ready for a break, but for some kids, even just including a TV or a seating area in the kitchen could do the trick.
If you're ready to remodel your Cincinnati area kitchen to accommodate the little helpers in your life, we're ready to help!