KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

Mak­ing your kitchen a child-friendly space is a recipe for cook­ing up some fun, writes

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Awave of cook­ing re­al­ity TV shows cou­pled with an in­creas­ingly mul­ti­cul­tural com­mu­nity means to­day’s youth are keener than ever to get their lit­tle hands messy while help­ing with din­ner or dessert. But some kitchen de­signs are bet­ter equipped to han­dle an ex­tra set of small hands than oth­ers.

Founder of Bake Club An­neka Man­ning teaches bud­ding chefs of all ages. She knows just what it takes to in­spire a mini MasterChef.

“What­ever you choose, how­ever ow­ever you de­sign the space ask your­selff ‘Is this en­cour­ag­ing my child to be with me in the kitchen and too help me cook?’,” she says.

“Be­cause the more you can do that at a very early age, the more con­fi­dent they’re go­ing to be into their teenage years — and the more din­ners they’ll be able to pro­duce for you in thee long term as well.”

Lit­tle chefs, grand de­signs es­igns

Try to ap­proach kitchen de­sign from a child’s point of view says Chris­tian Becker, Ikea home fur­nish­ing spe­cial­ist.

“Chil­dren en­joy things that match their size or style,” he says.

The lay­out of your kitchen is key to keep­ing things mov­ing with a grow­ing fam­ily.

“The Me­tod kitchens are great and re­ally ver­sa­tile,” Chris­tian says. “You can even con­sider in­clud­ing a bench top de­signed for chil­dren, cre­at­ing a great space for them to help out and bring them closer to the ac­tion.

“It can also act as a quick place to stash larger items and grocery bags,” he says.

Tyler Sadler, colour and de­sign con­sul­tant at GJ Gard­ner Homes for Syd­ney North says the kitchen is where the ac­tion is.

“From kids do­ing home­work there or cook­ing for a large party, it’s one of the most im­por­tant parts of the home, if not the most im­por­tant,” she says. Ac­cord­ing to Tyler, home­buy­ers are now par­tic­u­larly con­scious of safety now that lit­tle hands are more ac­tive in the kitchen. “In­duc­tion cook­tops are pop­u­lar, be­cause it’s the most kid-friendly cook­top as it’s able to cool down quickly,” she says. In­te­rior de­signer, tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter and Gran­ite Trans­for­ma­tions brand am­bas­sador, Shaynna Bl Blaze says it’s worth con­sid con­sid­er­ing which kitchen sur­faces best suit the rough and tum­ble of m many small hands. While mar­ble looks amaz­ing, it can be prone to chip­ping or stain­ing un­less it is sealed, while lam­i­nate prod­ucts are both tough and easy to main­tain. En­gi­neered stone be bench­tops and gran­ite can of­fer the b best of both worlds. “The main thing is look­ing at the fl flex­i­bleibl ways you can ar­range your kitchen so that your chil­dren can still feel en­gaged,” Shaynna says.

Drawer them in

Ded­i­cat­ing a drawer or shelf in the kitchen helps a child learn about dif­fer­ent uten­sils and teaches them to get or­gan­ised. A per­sonal space for each child is a great idea too to avoid lit­tle wars break­ing out be­fore bak­ing.

“It’s good some­times to give them own­er­ship over a cer­tain cup­board or pantry shelf,” An­neka says.

“Lit­tle con­tain­ers can be fan­tas­tic to put things in like sauce bot­tles in one and all my spices in an­other be­cause you can pull out the whole con­tainer, put it on the bench and say ‘there you go, find the cin­na­mon and the nut­meg, that’s what we need to­day’.”

Is­land benches and open shelv­ing in these Me­tod kitchens from Ikea (pic­tured top and above) make cook­ing more ac­ces­si­ble for kids.

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