There are a million lists out there for what to stuff a toddler's stocking with. These range from the basics of bubbles to endless amounts of sugar in the form of festive Christmas sprinkled foods. However, if you have a preschool-aged chef who you are stuffing a stocking for, you may be hoping for a few more creative ideas that your kid could use in the kitchen. Perhaps ones that are fun, functional, AND give your toddler permission to "play with their food."
Read through this list where I share:
1. Minis Silicone and Stainless Steel Tongs: While scanning the aisles for wrapping paper and Christmas decorations at Hobby Lobby, I stumbled upon the PERFECT sized cooking tongs for kids. There were four types to choose from in red or green for what worked out to be about $1 a piece (with Hobby Lobby's always-awesome sales), but I have linked some others here since the ones I found weren't on Hobby Lobby's website.
2. Small Strainers: Here is another itemI scored to find at the Dollar Tree. With short handles that fit perfectly in little hands, these are fun for my two-year old to play with when baking and exploring the textures of different foods. From sifting flour to straining water off of freshly washed fruit, these are an easy addition to your sous chef's stock of kitchen tools.
3. Small Rolling Pin: You may have already thought to get one of these for your preschooler's play-doh, but having one that your kid can use in the kitchen too is a great way to get them involved in age-appropriate kitchen play.
4. Curious Chef Kids Knives: These nylon knives don't need to worry you! Specifically designed for your young sous chef, these knives are sharp enough to cut through your kid's soft favorites like bananas, cheese, and PB&J sandwiches without chopping their fingers off. I am excited to introduce these to our two year old to encourage a bit more independence to cut some foods herself (versus always being told to keep her hands back).
5. Crinkle Cutter: I bought one of these after seeing it being used for tot school. I am determined to see how many more things my daughter is willing to taste when presented in a crinkle cut...I mean seriously, even if she hates all things potato - who doesn't want a crinkle-cut french fry every once in a while?!
6. Mini Whisk: This whisk is the perfect option for an eager egg-scrambler. With the opportunity to eager your little one in everything from mixing up morning pancakes to homemade ranch dip, this whisk is sure to be a favorite for any age and stage.
7. Turkey Baster: Before you think I have gone too far with this one, hear me out. These things are awesome for sensory play in and out of the kitchen, as well as developing fine motor skills and hand strength when squeezing. Turkey basters are also a fun way for kids to squirt milk on their cereal with fewer spills. If you decide to get one of these, check your dollar store first (as that's where I found ours for much less than those sold on Amazon!).
8. Cookie cutters: Do you follow me on Instagram? If not, you should. Because then you would have seen all of my attempts to cookie-cut my way through exposing unfamiliar foods to my very own particular eater of a preschooler.
9. Food Picks: I haven't bought any of these yet because to be honest, I've been cheap and I felt these were a bit of a novelty item we could avoid introducing without majorly "missing out" on something amazing. If I am going to spend money on filling my preschoolers stocking with random, useless items she may/may not enjoy though, now is the ideal time to try these little sticks. I am curious to see if she enjoys them as much as others claim their kids do.
10. Silicone Cups: Would you believe these are actually one of my daughter's favorite items for independent play? She makes SEVERAL batches of "shape (link shape sorter) cupcakes" daily! These also get used in her muffin tin meals and for easy little cups for finger foods at meals and snacks.
11. Silverware: Has your kid's cutlery gone missing this school year? Now is the perfect time to replenish with your kid's favorite colors or characters! It is a simple would-have-to-buy-anyways items that then becomes a bit more "special."
12. Toddler Straw Cups: Is it time to replace a dingy straw from your kid's sippy cup? Lessen the number of leaks in your life with an awesome new cup like this one? Replace a reusable water bottle that went missing school in 2015? Stuff one of these cups down into the toe of your preschooler's stocking and you have an easy win.
13. Reusable Squeeze Pouches: While we have long-used the Infantino squeeze system and disposable pouches, 2016 is a new year and I am ready to test out new items - like these reusable squeeze pouches. Plus, with my daughter's growing appetite these days, I went ahead and bought these in the 7-ounce size to pack a bit more food into each pouch.
14. Board books about food: While classics like Blueberries for Sal are too big of books to stuff in a stock, here are some of my other favorites: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Vegetables, Eating the Alphabet, My Very First Book of Food, and Yummy Yucky.
15. Satsumas or Clementines: Surely I wasn't the only one who grew up with a satsuma in the toe of every stocking, right? I totally plan to keep these tradition alive with a healthy, simple food item that fits perfectly insider my daughter's stocking.
What fun AND functional finds did you get to fill your preschooler's stocking with this year?
Please note that I have not received any compensation for this post. However some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I have used all of the products listed and recommend them because they are helpful and from companies that I trust, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products.