Is there a little chef in your household?  How do you know if he’s ready for his own tools?  When will be ready to make dinner every night?

If only, right?  Every child is different and there aren’t any hard and fast rules about what age is appropriate.   Some girls mature quickly and will be ready to cook before boys are.  However, some boys love to cook and can do circles around girls in the kitchen.  Each situation must be evaluated for the child in question.

When you do determine your child is ready to cook on their own, get them some of their own utensils.  There are actually companies that market tools specifically for kid cooks.  The Pampered Chef, Kidscook.com and growingcooks.com all offer pint sized utensils and kid friendly tools for your young chef.

The basic tools any chef needs are:

•    Spatula
•    Whisk
•    Measuring cups
•    Measuring spoons
•    Large mixing bowl
•    Funnel

Other tools you can buy as you see fit.  Using small appliances like blenders, food processors and mixers might need to wait awhile longer to make sure they respect that they can be dangerous.

There are numerous cookbooks with easy recipes for kids to follow.  Some are specialty cookbooks offering kids recipes, desserts only or fun holiday dishes.  Specialty cookbooks for diabetic and vegetarian children are also available.  The cookbooks come in both print and online versions.

Every little cook needs an apron because messy recipes are the most fun!  A personalized apron or bright color is fun and gives kids added incentive to wear it and save on laundry.  If you have a really cooperative cook, a white chef hat may be an option.

Remember to take pictures of your little chef.  A scrapbook full of dishes they made on their own will give their cooking skills confidence.  You may have a famous chef on your hands and will need proof of the early years!