Kid Friendly Kitchens
By Gary Baker
The kitchen is not just for cooking these days, with an increasing number of kitchen diners, breakfast bars and media being incorporated into this integral room of the house. If you’ve got little ones, it can be hard to know how to get them involved in the kitchen or keep an eye on them while you’re slaving over a hot stove. Luckily, designers are helping the kitchen evolve into an area the whole family can enjoy.
Here are our top ideas and products for a more kid friendly kitchen:
Standard worktops are usually too high for little legs to reach, so buying furniture with a lower workstand or installing lower units in your kitchen might be the solution for your family. This kitchen island from Earle & Ginger has a regular height surface for adults as well as a lower worktop and seating area for kids to colour, paint or play on. The Corian worktop even pulls out with a drawer for storing all the kids’ messy stuff brilliant!
Incorporate Garden Space:
Obviously this is going to depend on your house and the space that you have, but if your kitchen does adjoin your outside space then french doors might help kids stay occupied while you’re making the dinner. Incorporating garden space is a great idea for bringing extra light into your kitchen anyway, like this Glacier White kitchen by Newcastle Furniture Company. You could make more of your kitchen space in summer too by opening your kitchen out onto an outside dining space.
Even if it’s rainy out, children can play ‘I spy’ or draw a picture of the garden from inside sliding or patio doors. And if we get any sun this year (if!) you could grow a little herb garden and ask them to pick your ingredients for dinner.
Lots of Pinterest pages have been showcasing vintage blackboards with handwritten quotes as decorative additions to the kitchen, but we reckon you can take this trend even further. Blackboard paint is available from most DIY stores for around £5 a tin, and it even comes in a range of bright, funky colours to suit your chosen colour scheme. You could paint a feature wall, grab a box of chalk and let your little ones have their own art attack knowing you can wipe it off once they’ve gone to bed.
If a whole wall seems too daring, how about this unit that incorporates a blackboard at the back? Here it’s been decorated with an inspirational quote, but there’s no reason why the kids can’t join in. It might even stop them from drawing on walls elsewhere in the house…
People have been putting TVs in their kitchens for decades, and you might feel strongly that the kitchen is the only place you can escape screens! But if you’re at home alone with the kids and trying to get on with the chores, it might be the perfect distraction.
Flatscreens come in a range of sizes but if you’re limited by your unit space you might want to mount your screen on a wall. This foldup bracket allows you to pull your TV down from your wall cabinetry and fold it away again when you’re done, so you can make sure your children aren’t getting square eyes once dinner is ready.
Play with your food
Finally, there are simple accessories you can add to your kitchen to get the kids more involved.
Why not stick these edible eyes (£4 Tesco) onto the inhabitants of your fruit bowl to make them a bit more fun?
Lightweight, colourful accessories that are safe for little hands to grasp might also spark an interest in cooking as well as allow your family to play in the kitchen. This colourful Corian tableware from American designers S2BH is a great example of how a heavy fruit bowl or decorative glass dishes can be exchanged for something that won’t break or hurt if dropped.
You can experiment with colour and texture with a range of lightweight but sturdy materials available such as rubber (green Drop bowl from around £25), wood (Emiko bamboo bowl from Habitat, £15) or plastic (purple bowl from The Range.) Or you could even make your own as an afterschool activity, like this colourful dish made from hama beads.
So you see, there are simple design changes and budget additions you can make to ensure your kitchen is a kidfriendly space. Keep an eye on our blog for more of those colourful and practical ideas.