Cooking School

Essential kitchen equipment for young chefs

Author: Canadian Living

Cooking School

Essential kitchen equipment for young chefs

Inspiring children to get into the kitchen and get involved in cooking is a worthy and rewarding endeavour. It helps build kids' awareness about food and gets them involved in deciding what they'll eat and how it will be prepared – the first step in making them better eaters and smart consumers.

It is essential that kids use kitchen equipment that is appropriate for their age, size and experience. With the right tools, some guidance and a watchful eye, you can help young chefs of all ages become masters in the kitchen.

Age-appropriate kitchen equipment for kids

Youngest chefs (4 to 6 years)
Mixing bowls, spoons, whisks
Small rolling pins, cookie cutters
Rubber scrapers
Popsicle sticks (for spreading icing)

Junior chefs (6 to 10 years)
Mixing bowls, spoons, whisks
Rolling pins, cookie cutters
Measuring spoons, dry and wet measuring cups
Hand mixers, stand mixers
Sieves for sifting

Tween and teen chefs (11 to 16 years)
Non-slip cutting board
Small chef's knife (with supervision)
Spatula
Graters, peelers
Baking sheets
Skillets, saucepans
Oven and stove (with supervision for younger kids)


Page 1 of 2 – Discover which kitchen tools are best for kids on page 2.
Notes on safe equipment for kids (and adults!)

Mixing bowls: Choose unbreakable bowls with rubber on the bottom (it makes them non-slip). Choose bowls that are large enough that batter stays in the bowl. 

Spoons: Smooth wooden or plastic spoons fit nicely into small hands. Look for comfort and good design.

Whisks: Choose a whisk that is the right size for your child.

Sieve: Kids can have fun watching the magic as flour falls through the holes.

Rolling pins: Look for small or regular-sized. Before you buy, make sure the rolling mechanism actually works. Try a tapered French-style or cylindrical rolling pin for easier maneuvering.

Cookie cutters: Look for good-quality cutters with straight edges. Choose shapes that leave room for young imaginations to get creative.

Baking sheets: Choose baking sheets with rims, to prevent cookies from sliding off the sheets and into the oven. Light-colour sheets will yield best results.

Oven mitts: Try to find junior sizes to help protect little hands. Using tea towels and pot holders instead of oven mitts is not recommended for children.  

Chef's knife: A good knife is the most important kitchen tool. Look for a good-quality chef's knife in a smaller size, about 6 inches long.  (Chef's knives for adults are usually 8 to 10 inches long.)

Show your child the proper way to hold a knife (if you're unsure, do some research or enlist a friend). Stay close by when your child is using the chef's knife.

Paring knife: Choose a good-quality, comfortable knife. Do not use a paring knife as a child-size chef's knife.

Cutting board: Use a non-slip cutting board or place some non-slip drawer-liner under your cutting board to keep it from slipping. Choose a cutting board that can go into the dishwasher. It's great to have several; one each for meat, vegetables, fruit and fish.

Gadgets: Make sure these are child-safe.


Page 2 of 2 -- Learn age-appropriate kitchen tools for kids and tweens on page 1.
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Cooking School

Essential kitchen equipment for young chefs

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