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Cooking with children can be fun. Here are kitchen tools every child chef needs.

Do you have a kid who loves to drag a chair over to the kitchen counter to watch you cook? Or are you looking for a way to get a picky eater to try some new foods?

Investing in some kids’ cooking tools -- whether they’re age 2 or age 12 -- could have life-long benefits.

“By teaching your kids to cook, you’re setting them up for life,” says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler (2005.) “They’re learning essential skills, and you’re helping them become people who won’t just microwave everything and call it dinner.”

Ward says that cooking with kids isn’t only about the finished product. Although dinnertime lectures about the benefits of Brussels sprouts might fall flat, your kids will learn about a good diet naturally if they’re helping you make meals with healthy ingredients like whole grains and vegetables.

“Cooking with kids can also help them develop their counting, time management, and fine motor skills,” Ward tells WebMD. “It gives you a way to spend time together, and it gives them a shot of self-esteem.”

Here are 12 tips for kids’ cooking tools and gadgets to inspire your budding chef.

Kids in the Kitchen

1. Basic Kids’ Cooking Tools

Be sure you have spoons, spatula, whisk, vegetable peeler, and small rolling pin.

You might have all of these tools in your kitchen right now. But your kids might like having a set that’s just for their own use – whether it’s new or assembled out of extras hidden in your drawers. “You’re giving them ownership and making cooking a special activity for them,” says Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD, coauthor of The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers: Improving the Way Your Family Eats, One Meal at a Time (Broadway Books, 2004). “That can make them more interested in helping.”

These basic kids’ cooking tools are good for even the youngest chefs. “Just about any kid can help stir with a spoon or a whisk,” Ward says. And if your little ones start to lose interest, you can always stick wooden spoons in their hands so they can bang pots while you finish up. Or make those silicone spoons. “It won’t be quite so noisy,” Bissex says.

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