Bring more fun to your child’s mealtimes with these clever food-related utensils and feeding tools. Whether you have a new eater or a super picky one, these are the plates, placemats, snack containers, baby spoons and more that can will keep kids interested and reduce messes during snacks and meals.
Mess-Free Drink & Bowl Set
The Sip & Snack set from Miniware encourages independent eating while minimizing spills. It includes a snack bowl with a suction foot that keeps the bowl on your high chair or table. Just detach the suction foot when your child no longer needs it. The training cup grows with your child and allows them to drink in three different ways: Younger kids can sip from the silicone straw, which is soft and comfortable on sore gums and teeth. Remove the straw but keep on the non-drip lid and your child can learn to drink through a spout. Once they've mastered that, remove the lid and your child can drink straight from the cup.
Available at miniware.com, $32.
A Bowl & Spoon for Meals on the Go
If you're out and about but still want the convenience of no-mess meals with food you bring from home, turn to Dr. Brown's new travel bowl and spoon. The bowl features two compartments that lock shut with the toddler spoon easily snapping into the spoon holder. Open one compartment of the bowl at a time or snap the whole lid off for easy access. Both are BPA-free and top dishwasher-rack safe.
Available at drbrownsbaby.com for $5.99
No-Slip Suction Plate
Sturdy suction keeps this 100% food-grade-silicone plate on the high chair or table while baby eats. Free of BPA, BPS, lead, PET, phthalates, PVC and biologically harmful chemicals, this cute and clever plate can be used in the freezer, microwave, oven and dishwasher. Thinkbaby (yep, the same company that makes the kids sunscreen you love) gives proceeds from sales of this plate to Save the Whales. There are three other styles to choose from: yellow monkey (proceeds go to World Wildlife Fund), green elephant (The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee) and orange dog (Animal Welfare Institute).
Available at gothinkbaby.com, $16.99.
Baby's First Spoons
Olababy has two spoons designed for early eaters. The Feeding Spoon allows for easy scooping, cutting and slicing and has a suction base so it stands upright to keep it clean. The Training Spoon encourages self-feeding and is great for baby-led weaning. It's ergonomically designed for baby's hands, flexible, and stands upright when not in use. Both spoons are made of food-grade silicone and are dishwasher safe. You can purchase a two-pack with both spoons or two-packs of the same spoons.
Available at olababy.us; $14.95 for a 2-pack.
Feeding Essentials 101
If you're new to solids, turn to SkipHop. This fall the beloved brand released their first line of infant feeding essentials, which is a great place to start if you don't know what exactly to buy. Highlights include easy-feed spoons, easy-grab bowls, formula to food containers, easy-prep food press set (think making solid foods like avocado or steamed carrots mushy) and much more. Check out the entire line here. Bon appétit!
Available at skiphop.com with prices starting at $8.
Handmade Wooden Spoons in Just the Right Size
Skip the plastic spoons in favor of these handmade hardwood spoons that come in both baby and toddler sizes. The baby spoon has a narrow width for easier feeding and holding, while the toddler spoon is longer and has a rounded, wider handle. Both come in four beautiful wood types (ebony, hard maple, bloodwood and jatoba) and can be engraved with your child's name. Buy for your babe and friends' kids; it makes an excellent baby gift and a family heirloom to treasure. Added bonus: You can also use the spoons for sauces, honey and much more.
Available at earlywooddesigns.com, from $14 (baby spoon) and $16 (toddler spoon).
Tiny Tools for Big Developmental Milestones
The First Foods Set from ezpz is designed to help children learn to eat solids and feed themselves, while limiting the mess that can cause. The silicone spoon is narrow to fit in baby's mouth with a short, round handle that little hands can hold easily. The silicone cup has a weighted base to reduce the chance of spills. And the bowl suctions to your high chair or table to prevent spills. Lightweight and compact, it comes with a reusable bag so you can bring it along to restaurants and on trips.
Available at ezpzfun.com, $34.99.
Bring Multiple Snacks When You're On-the-Go
If you're planning a group playdate or just like a little variety, the snack stacks from ZoLi will be your go-to to-go container. Each stack comes with three separate containers you twist on to build a tower of tasty snacks. The containers are free of BPA, phthalates and lead and come in fun colors and two sizes (4-ounce or 8-ounce containers).
Available at zoli-inc.com, $13-$18, depending on container size.
Keep Meals Warm or Cold without Leaking
Reduce the Mess of Puree Feeding
Blast off to easier feeding with this cleverly shaped silicone food-dispensing spoon that doles out baby food one bite at a time. Just load up the Marcus & Marcus Rocket Silicone Baby Dispensing Feeding Spoon with pureed baby food, hold it to your baby’s mouth, and squeeze. Voilà: one-handed feeding. Soon kids will be squishing their own breakfast into their mouth.
Available at amazon.com; $10.99.
Sustainable Tableware That Grows With Your Child
Why shouldn't kids tableware be as chic as yours? This dining set from Miniware comes with a cereal bowl, snack bowl and sandwich plate that attach to suction feet to minimize spills. When your child is older, skip the suction feet and keep using these sophisticated bowls and plates. And here's why you'll want to: In addition to looking great, the set is made with natural, plant-based ingredients. It's biodegradable and plastic-free with no phthalates, BPA, BPS or PVC. The polypropylene ring and silicone suction foot are both food-grade level.
Available at miniware.com, $65.
An Easy-Clean Bib
You won't believe the amount of food dropped, dripped and dribbled when you start feeding your baby solids. This silicone bib from Bibbity comes with a generous silicone pocket that attempts to catch it all and is easy to rinse out and clean.
Available at walmart.com; $8.53.
A Self-Feeding Miracle
Let your baby try their hand at feeding with Boon's answer to mesh feeders. Fill the Pulp silicone teething feeder with squishy fruit or steamed veggies and your tiny diner can gnaw on them and get nourishment through tiny holes. You'll love that it's easy to clean and even goes in the dishwasher. Baby will love that it's easy to grasp and super soothing when they're teething.
Available at boon.com; $5.99.
The Less-Mess Placemat
Also from ezpz, the Happy Mat will make your baby and you smile. This silicone placemat and plate in one keeps foods separated (a big deal for some children) and stays in one place on the table thanks to a suction feature. It's dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Bonus: got a kiddo who loves Peppa Pig? Check out this limited-edition placemat from EZPZ.
Available at ezpzfun.com; $24.99.
The No Brainer Method for DIY Purees
So you want to be a baby-food chef? It's way easier than you think with the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker Deluxe, a compact, all-in-one countertop appliance that can steam-cook, blend and create pouches of purees.
Available at babybrezza.com; $129.99.
Independent Eating with Reduced Choking Risk
There are lots of cute baby spoons and forks on the market, but Grabease may take the cake in terms of giving your child a safe, fun, easy way to learn to use utensils. Available in a rainbow of fun colors, they are short enough for little hands to grip and have a built-in barrier to prevent choking.
Available at grabease.com, $14.50.
The Placemat You Can Take Anywhere
Munchkin's Go Folding Placemat comes in both pink and blue. The silicone mat sticks to any table and has a rim to keep liquid spills and rolling berries contained. When mealtime is over, simply fold it up and snap it shut before you take it to the kitchen to ensure you don't leave a trail of crumbs and drips on the way. Also great to toss in your diaper bag for meals at restaurants.
Available at munchkin.com; $13.
A Cup That Encourages Drinking
How do you encourage your child to finish their milk? Give them a cup that has a cute animal hiding in the bottom of it. These dishwasher-safe mugs from JJ Rabbit come in four bright colors with a different animal in each color: green (frog), blue (bird), red (pig) and orange (rabbit).
Available at jjrabbit.com, $7.49.
The Placemat That's Also an Educational Drawing Tool
Silicone placemats are a lifesaver when you’re on the go, and this one from GoSili teaches kids geography and gives them a durable surface to write on with washable marker, crayons and pens. You can easily wipe away any artistic masterpieces and food spills, and this mat folds up just like a map for easy storage in your car or bag.
Available at silikids.com, $14.95.
The Secret Star for Slurpable Foods
Is it a spoon or a straw? It’s both! This bowl and straw combo from b.box works great with liquid-y, slurp-able food babies and tots love, like cereal, yogurt, smoothies and soup. Bonus: It comes with a special snack top so you can use it for taking dry cereal or crackers on your outings.
Available at bboxbaby.com; $14.
The Microwave-Free Way to Warm Purees
If you're a baby-food-making whiz, you'll love this. The Lillypot is made from stainless steel and has three pods for defrosting frozen purees. Just set it on top of a saucepan (like a lid) and turn on the heat. Great for parents who aren't fond of microwaving baby's food.
Available at amazon.com; $25.
The Funky First Spoon Baby Will Love
Razbaby's raspberry-shaped spoon is as wonderful for teething babes (thanks to its bumpy gum-massaging surface) as it is for novice feeders. Soft foods stick to the berry's nubs so no spoon skills required.
Available at myrazbaby.com; $5.99.
The Plate That Focuses a Picky or Distracted Eater
This food-grade silicone rubber placemat and plate from Marcus & Marcus is a whimsical wonderland where you and your child can make broccoli climb stairs and pasta slide into the pool. With this on the table, you can keep a toddler occupied or help a picky eater get more comfortable with trying foods on their plate. Comes in five colors: yellow, red, pink, purple and green.
Available at amazon.com, $24.99.
Small Popsicle Molds for Tiny Hands and Stomachs
Bring new life to your baby’s favorite smoothie by pouring it into these tiny popsicle molds. Each holds 2/3 fluid ounce and has a stick with a drip guard to minimize drippy messes. Good for an afternoon snack, and great for teething. On a cold day, make it a bathtub treat! Also works with breast milk or formula for teething babies who aren't eating solids yet.
Available at amazon.com, $18.99.
Transition Cups With a Funny Twist
These cups will give caretakers a laugh while baby takes a sip. The 5-ounce cups, which help babies in their transition from bottles to cups, feature silicone spouts and comfortable, removable handles, along with hilarious messages on the bottom. They come in white, gray, blue and pink.
Available at babybrezza.com, $8.99.
Cut Grapes in a Flash
Grapes are a perfect baby snack—fun for tiny fingers to grasp; sweet and easy to chew. But you have to quarter them up to prevent choking, a task that will start to drive you crazy around, oh, grape number 1,274. The OXO Tot Grape Cutter takes some of the work out of the equation, and you can also use it on pitted olives and grape tomatoes.
Available online at oxo.com; $9.99.
A Dining Set Featuring Your Child's Favorite Animal
Let your child bring a favorite animal friend to the table with this sweet dining set from Marcus & Marcus, consisting of an animal-themed spoon, collapsible bowl with lid, and feeding spoon, all made from sturdy silicone. The food container collapses to fit into your diaper bag, and the spoon is soft on sore gums. Comes in 5 bright colors: red (lion), purple (whale), yellow (giraffe), pink (pig) and green (elephant).
Available at amazon.com, $44.97.
The Paint for Your Food
Kids will love that they can squirt this yummy, brightly colored paint on their food. And parents will love that Noshi Paint is made from organic fruit puree with no added preservatives. Decorate oatmeal, toast, pancakes, yogurt, and more.
Available at noshi-for-kids.myshopify.com, $14.99.
A Snack Container That Minimizes Spills
Toddlers love to dive into this snack container. Its soft flaps give easy access to snacks but won’t spill them when it falls over or gets thrown around. Handles are easy to grip for small hands, and the top comes off for easy cleaning. Comes in bright blue, green, orange and pink.
Available at munchkin.com, $3.
—Julie Seguss & Eva Ingvarson Cerise