Here you’ll find some of our favorite food-related gifts for kids, from broccoli-shaped teething toys for tots to a starter hand-held appliance for tweens. Whether your kid is already correcting your pronunciation of “potato pavé” or you just want to get your mac-and-cheese aficionado excited about something new, these are the best cooking gifts for kids of all ages in 2019.
For Your Infant/Toddler:
Superfood Teething Toy
It’s never too early to teach your kids good eating habits. Or to try, anyway. Before you start on real solids, give baby a teether in the shape of your favorite superfood. Made from all-natural rubber, and painted with plant-extracted pigments, these green teething toys are soft on the gums and easy for tiny hands to hold. Choose from Kendall the Kale, Arnold the Avocado, and Brucy the Broccoli. Or get all three and let baby go to town on crudités in the crib.
Hand-Stitched Taco Booties
No, you absolutely don’t need another reason to nibble on sweet little baby feet, but maybe these adorable taco booties will make you feel less weird about doing it in public. Plus, the window to use your child as a food-forward fashion accessory only lasts so long. Make the most of this precious time by slipping these hand-stitched, felted wool booties on those squishy little piggies ASAP.
Playful Bamboo Kids Dinnerware Set
If the grandmas of the world are correct, then everybody needs at least one set of “nice dishes.” This adorable Elly the Elephant bamboo feeding set fits the bill for babies, and the whimsical design is gender-neutral and toddler-friendly. Each set includes two of everything, so you get two divided plates, two bowls, two cups, two forks, and two spoons. These dishes will grow with your little one—from first purée to that delightful stage when macaroni touching peas can trigger a monumental meltdown. And because you get doubles of everything, if you lose one piece, you have a backup. It’s all dishwasher-safe and a great alternative to plastic or melamine.
For Your Preschooler:
Fred Munchtime Trainer Chopsticks
Watching a young kid try to use chopsticks is both adorably endearing and painfully frustrating—especially if you don’t have two hours to get through a bowl of chicken and rice. Make the whole experience more fun for everyone with plastic trainer chopsticks topped with colorful, kid-friendly T-Rex, toucan, and shark designs. You get all three in the set, so you can keep one in a tote bag or glove box, have one for home, and if one goes to school and never comes back, it’s not the end of the world.
Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Wooden Play Food
Kids love helping in the kitchen, and knives are especially intriguing. Before you hand over the Shun, let them hone their skills—for a few years, at least—with sliceable food from ubiquitous wood toymakers Melissa & Doug. This set comes with a wooden knife that’s anything but sharp, as well as fruits, veggies, and bread that can all be “sliced” time and time again. The slices are held together with velcro, so there’s even a little “crunch” sound with each cut. Everything packs neatly into a small wooden crate for stylish storage.
Giant Snowflake Marshmallow
To a four-year-old, hot cocoa on a snowy day is pretty much as good as it gets. So prepare to blow your kid’s mind when you top off the next mugful with a giant snowflake marshmallow. Extra fancy and all kinds of fun, these oversized fluffy confections are what twinkly Christmas dreams are made of. Whether it’s a stocking stuffer or a just part of a special treat during winter break, the extra sugar (and ensuing crash) is totally worth the magical memories.
Hape Tabletop Kitchen & Grill Set
A portable play kitchen is perfect for cooking-curious kids who are short on space or always on the go. Though it takes up less than a square foot, this wooden kitchen set from Hape packs in plenty of features, including a stainless-steel pot with a lid, a frying pan, a spatula, and a ladle. The burner panel can even be flipped over to transform the whole thing into a grill. Bonus: You get to bypass the parental right of passage/torture that is assembling a play kitchen on Christmas Eve.
Kalamata's Kitchen: A la Kalamata
Written by Sarah Thomas, a sommelier at New York City’s Le Bernardin, the Kalamta series follows young Kalamata and her sidekick Al Dente as they explore different foods and cuisines. Each title features a different “Taste Bud” and for this one, the bud happens to be Le Bernardin’s very own Éric Ripert. He’s brought his son Adrien along for the culinary adventure, and the two share their memories—and a recipe—from France. The book is written in a punchy, rhythmic style and filled with fun sensory triggers, like when Kalamata gets a whiff of fresh herbs and wonders, “Is this what green smells like?”
Wooden Breakfast Set
This 18-piece wooden breakfast set has everything your little one needs for a make-believe breakfast in bed (or anywhere, really) including a serving tray, dishes, cup, toast, eggs, strawberries, and salt and pepper shakers. It even comes with little wooden pats of butter! Does it get any cuter than this?
Dinosaur Taco Holders
Rawr! Hungry kiddos will love eating dinner from these adorable t-rex and triceratops taco holders. Each pedestaled prehistoric creature holds two hard-shell tacos—and probably all kinds of of other food and non-food-related items your kids will manage to put on these dinosaurs’ backs. Luckily, no matter what kind of mess they get into, you can throw these dinos in the dishwasher for quick-and-easy clean-up.
For Your School-Aged Kid:
Railroad Stripe Apron
This sturdy cotton railroad-stripe apron from Heirloomed covers is stylish and gender neutral thanks to contrast stitching, twill straps, and an oversized front pocket that has plenty of room for spoons, art supplies, or a secret snack stash. It’s so nice you might even want one for yourself (and lucky for you, there’s also an adult version). Monogramming is available, but does take extra time, so order ASAP.
Plant a Pizza Garden Kit
Pizza doesn’t grow on trees. But most of its components do grow out of the ground. Or, in the case of this Plant a Pizza Garden Kit, out of a plastic pizza-shaped potting tray. And there’s no better way to teach kids about what goes into their favorite food than by letting them grow some of it themselves. The kit includes everything your micro-farmer needs to start growing basil, oregano, tomatoes, and peppers (though sprouts will need to be transferred to larger pots eventually). If you manage to keep it all alive, the real fun comes when it’s time to harvest the garden and make pizza (the recipe is included, of course).
The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs
This book is the perfect gift for the youngster who’s already dead set on culinary school. Equal parts textbook and cookbook, The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs features 100 kid-friendly recipes that adults will actually want to eat (hello, apple cider–glazed pork chops!), totally useful techniques, and safety tips. There’s even a section on nutrition. Any kid who spends time with this book will learn enough to at least make their own school lunches—if not the occasional family dinner.
BUY IT: The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs: 100 Recipes that You’ll Love to Cook and Eat, $11 on Amazon
Candy-Making Lab Kit
Sugar is more than just empty calories when it’s part of a science experiment (right?!). For kids who always want to know “why” and “how,” the 16 STEM lessons will guide them through making rock and gummy candy, jelly worms, and more. Your little food scientist will also learn how to check the amount of sugar in sodas, test how liquids affect jelly candies, and dissolve sugar crystals. But don’t worry; not every experiment is meant to end with sugar consumption.
At Home Bakery Kit
Whether your aspiring pastry chef is planning for a big bake sale, or is just clever enough to turn a profit selling cupcakes to family members, this bakery kit will encourage that entrepreneurial spirit. The mini rolling pin and spatula are perfect for helping little hands whip up recipes like apple tarts, bunny muffins, and crescent moons (recipe cards included). But the real fun comes with the price tag stickers, ranging from 25 cents to five bucks—which means that yes, this thing is going to cost you a lot more than $13 in the end. Consider it an investment in their future?
This sushi-making kit will be a huge hit with the kid who’s mesmerized by the sushi bar. It contains everything required to make the base of four servings of sushi, including rice, rice vinegar powder, nori, sesame seeds, and wasabi powder, as well as easy-to-follow instructions and a bamboo rolling mat. You will need to source your own fresh ingredients (a shopping guide is included, too), but that makes it perfect for picky young eaters who may prefer the comfort of avocado and carrots to eel or uni.
The Star Wars Cookbook: Han Sandwiches and Other Galactic Snacks
With a new Star Wars movie coming out this winter, hungry little Jedis will love flipping through The Star Wars Cookbook: Han Sandwiches and Other Galactic Snacks. This fun paperback features easy-to-assemble recipes like Parsec Peanut Butter Sandwiches, while Mimban Mud Pies and Bantha Buns require some oven time. Honestly, though, even if they never end up making an actual recipe from the book, the photos are great and the included Chewbacca and Millennium Falcon sandwich cutters can be used to cut bread, pancakes, omelettes, and more.
For Your Tween:
If your kids like to help in the kitchen, they’ll be be wielding sharp objects soon, whether you like it or not. Help them get started safely with the Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife Set. The pint-sized knife and peeler are real tools (not toys!) but they’re designed with smaller hands—and safety—in mind. A ring on both utensils ensures index fingers are out of harm’s way, which means they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be for proper knife handling, too. An included finger guard protects knuckles while holding food in place for chopping.
Root Beer Home Brew Kit
Just wait until you tell the grandparents your tween is brewing beer in the basement—root beer, that is! This adorable little setup (which, for the record is actually billed as a “science” kit, not a “home brew” kit) includes everything your kid needs to make what might actually turn out to be a decent batch of soda: sassafras extract, yeast, a funnel, labels, and instructions. You only need to BYOB (bottles). Just make sure you have enough to hold up to two gallons of root beer.
These maple bacon lollipops from New York City confectioner Roni-Sue Chocolates are the ultimate stocking stuffer for the adventurous kid who knows there’s more to a holiday sugar high than high-fructose corn syrup. In fact, you won’t find any questionable additives in these sweet-and-savory handmade treats—but you will find smoky bacon bits suspended in the transparent amber candy. Four lollipops come in a pack, so you should probably just go ahead and order two sets in case your kid doesn't want to share.
KitchenAid Hand Mixer
A tween or teen who’s begun cooking independently should have a few fun kitchen gadgets to call their own, and this colorful, compact hand mixer from KitchenAid is a great place to start. With five speeds and two stainless steel beaters, it’s versatile enough for a wide range of recipes, and additional attachments can be purchased for pastry projects. The one-year manufacturer’s warranty should make you feel a little better about gifting a small appliance to a child, too.
Cook in the Blank
Some people want to be told exactly what to cook and how to do it, but others just need a little nudge in the right direction to make mealtime magic happen. If your budding chef has a flair for flavors (or puts ketchup on literally anything), encourage more experimentation with Cook in the Blank, the Mad Libs–style cookbook from Food52 that provides tried-and-true templates for everything from chopped salads to sheet-pan dinners. Hey, you might end up with a roasted chicken smothered in maple syrup, scallions, and saffron (that’s part of the fun!), but that bird will be perfectly cooked!
BUY IT: Cook in the Blank: The Fun, Freewheeling Game Plan That Takes You from Zero to Dinner, $12 at Amazon
Originally Appeared on Epicurious