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The Joys of a Kid-Friendly Kitchen
by Pamela Cole Harris -

Description: Tips for decorating a kitchen where you and your kids can both be comfortable.

Remember licking the bowl when you were a kid? Or making your own peanut butter sandwiches with grape, or better yet strawberry, jelly? Mmmmm…the smell of homemade oatmeal cookies! And they were even better because you knew you helped make them! Kitchens can be a place of special memories for kids of any generation. Are you building those memories with your children or do you view the kitchen as a dangerous place for kids? You can make your kitchen a kid friendly, memory-intensive space by:

* Having a small table where kids can work on projects when you are working in the kitchen.

* Having a selection of unbreakable bowls, measuring cups and mixing spoons which fit in small hands stored on a low shelf or in a low cabinet within reach of your child. Let your child know that these are his or her special cooking tools. Personalize them with colored markers.

* Paint a small stool in bright colors to keep where your child can reach it.

* Designate a place where you will keep snacks that your children can eat anytime. Use a special drawer, shelf, basket or box. Keep it stocked with raisins, juice packs, granola bars, trail mix or fruit.

* Buy a set of alphabet or number magnets or sets of easy word magnets for the refrigerator. Kids can learn to spell, create sentences or do math while helping in the kitchen.

* Paint a section of the kitchen wall with chalkboard paint or hang a large chalkboard within your child’s reach. Supply colored chalk and let your child draw to his/her heart’s content!

* Use your computer, scanner and printer to put together a kid’s cookbook. Explore easy recipes with your kids and feature their art and comments on each page. Not only will it help your child learn to cook, but it will be a treasured keepsake for you!

* Let your child help in small ways at first, then add more complicated tasks when he or she grows older and more adept. Some tasks you can begin to teach your youngest children:

* Stirring (cookie or cake dough is the most fun for kids! Ahh…the anticipation!)

* Washing fruit or veggies

* Measuring ingredients (have them measure over a paper towel. There will be less mess!

* Decorating cookies with sprinkles, raisins, small tubes of icing, chocolate chips (I bet some disappear before they make it to the cookie!)

* Make certain you eliminate cluttered or overloaded electrical outlets in your kitchen. They are dangers to both kids and adults.

* Don’t let your kids wear clothing with loose fitting sleeves. They could catch fire if they get too close to a burner or they could catch on items left on countertops.

* When you take something hot out of the oven, or if you have a hot pot on the stove, make sure you turn the handle away from the edge of the stove or set the pan away from the edge of counter where your child can’t reach up to grab the hot surface and pull it down.

* Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher nearby along with emergency numbers for fire departments, poison centers, pysicians,hospitals, police and sheriff’s department.

With a little thought, your kitchen can become the room that deepens the bond of caring between you and your child. Caring and chocolate chips! What more could a kid want?

Pamela Cole Harris is an editor and writer with 35 years experience. Visit her website,, for a free newsletter with remodeling, home improvement and decorating ideas for the financially challenged, creatively deficient and technologically illiterate. Or for unique content written just for your website, visit

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