I want to point out that your child will survive using whatever mixing bowl you have. Having a children's bowl isn't essential. However, if you and your child are baking a lot it makes sense for them to have their own mixing bowl and baking tools.
If the child has their own bowl they can mix and bake alongside of you, or other caregivers. Children and especially toddlers like to imitate and be close to their parents, why not bake side by side. You have your bowl and they can have theirs.
If the child has their own bowl they can keep it in their own little kitchen area, perhaps one drawer for their baking tools or even a small cupboard at their level that they can look after.
Having their own bowl can increase the child's ownership over the activity. Collecting the materials like the bowl is also a part of the baking process.
A child's bowl can help to set them up for success. A bowl that is too large, bulky or heavy is harder for the child to use, we want to make the process as easy and as successful for them as possible.
What I look for in a children's mixing bowl varies as the child ages. A few things I consider:
- Non-slip base - can be useful for toddlers to keep the bowl steady. (#1.)
- Handle/s - is often useful for the child to hold onto the bowl, it's easier for the child to hold onto the handle than it is to hold onto the side of the bowl to stop it from moving while whisking or stirring. For a young toddler you may have to show them to hold the handle while mixing with the other hand but Ive found that it is something they take to quite quickly. The bowls with one large handle are often called batter bowls. (#1, 2, 3, 6)
- Spout - this is particularly useful if the child is going to be pouring the contents into something else like into a cake tin. (#1, 2, 3)
- Size - I prefer our children's mixing bowls on the smaller side but you want to make sure there is always enough room for the mixture plus some more, you don't want the child to be spilling all of the contents just because the bowl isn't big enough.
- Melamine, Enamel - although I love to use real and breakable items in the kitchen melamine and enamel mixing bowls can work really well for children especially for toddlers, they are less likely to break/chip (not always a good thing) which may be important to you in the kitchen (on tiles or hard floors) and are often lighter than ceramic, stoneware or glass counterparts - this is important for toddlers who may not even be able to lift a heavy glass bowl let along lift if about their bodies to pour or put on the table. (Melamine #1, 3, Enamel #6, 7).
- Glass, pyrex - often glass mixing bowls are tempered or are a pyrex which is more resistant to breakages. I love pyrex is because it is transparent. It's so easy for the child to see what is going on in the bowl, what is in the bowl, to see if it is all mixed. This is a big bonus for toddlers. (#4, 5, 8)
- Depth, height - can the child reach into the bowl? We love using one of our enamel bowls (#6) as it is a wide but shallow bowl, we used thing from around 12 months as my child could easily see what was in it and reach inside it with his small arms and small wooden spoon. This is really important to consider when working with the young toddler <2 years. It may help to consider where the child will be using the bowl, you may be able to raise the toddler's position so they don't have to reach inside the bowl so much, by using a lower table or raising the height on their learning tower/kitchen stand.
- Stoneware - I feel stoneware is just too heavy for a young toddler, if it fell on the floor it might break a toe, but I love the look and feel. I absolutely recommend at least considering stoneware for children's mixing bowls once they are ready for the responsibility, perhaps from five years plus, they add a special charm to the kitchen and I love them for my older children and for myself. Pick a cute design and if you are lucky they will last forever. (#4)
- Personalised - ok, nothing to do with Montessori but I adore these personalised bowls. We have #7 but #8 would be great for my two youngest children who love to bake together. Perhaps for a special gift or part of a personalised baking set? (#7, 8)
I've found the best baking bowls for my children by just keeping my eyes open while shopping. I love peeking into kitchen stores, you never know what you might find.
Sources: 1. (UK link here) / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. (Our family uses bowls #1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, but this is for three children of 24mths, 8yrs and 11yrs and two adults, our toddler currently uses bowls #6 and 7).
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