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.
Pre-Spoons to Practice Eating
Give your child more eating independence with these pre-spoons from NumNum. The stage 1 spoon gives babies a tiny taste, as well as a textured surface that's soothing to sore gums. The stage 2 spoon helps kids pick up solids and blended foods. Both are made from silicone and feature a grippy ridged design that helps little ones grasp the handle. Free of BPA, PVC, lead and pthalates, these will be a favorite at mealtimes.
Available at amazon.com, $12.99
Training Fork for Baby Led Weaning
Fans of Olababy's spoons (see below) will love that they've added a training fork to their collection. Like the spoon, the fork has a silicone coating and is ergonomically designed for self-feeding, which give your child independence and develop dexterity and fine motor skills. The tines of the fork are sharp enough to spear foods while protecting gums and teeth. Comes in a set with a training spoon.
Available at olababy.us, $16.95 for the training fork & spoon set.
Animal-Themed Sets to Encourage Eating
Watch your child gobble up veggies to see a smiling animal staring up at them, or find the colorful words written on the sailboat, fire engine or bulldozer. These five-piece sets (plate, bowl, cup, spoon, fork) are made from one of our favorite kid-safe materials: bamboo. The bamboo fiber in this set is durable, dishwasher-safe and biodegradable.
Available at bamboozlehome.com, $25.
Everything You Need to Start Solids
Lalo makes it easy to introduce solids to your baby with these two great sets. The First Bites Full Kit ($62; above) contains a suction bowl, suction plate, lidded up with straw, two spoons and two bibs. The smaller set, First Bites Starter Kit ($28), comes with the bowl, cup and two spoons. Each set is available in sage green, pink and blue. All the pieces are made from silicone, which is soft on gums and safe for teething. They can go in the microwave and the dishwasher's top rack for easy prep and cleaning.
Available at meetlalo.com.
Silicone Training Cup with Lid & Straw
We love this cup to help teach independent drinking. It's made from 100% silicone, so it's non-slip for little hands and gentle on teeth and gums. There's a weighted base to keep it from tipping over. Once your child has mastered sipping, remove the straw and lid to work on drinking from an open cup. The cup is translucent, so you and your child can see how much liquid is left. And there are measurement indicators along the outside, in both ounces and millileters. Monitor your child's liquid intake, use it as a measuring cup, and teach older kids about measurement units. Comes in mint and coral.
Available at olababy.us, $17.95.
Stainless Steel Cups, Bowls, Plates & Cutlery
Stainless steel is a great alternative to plastic. These shiny cups, bowls, plates and cutlery are nontoxic, eco-friendly and free of things you don't want in your child's body, such as BPA, PVC, phthalates and lead. They come in three colors that won't chip, peel or leach harmful chemicals into your food: rainbow (shown above), iridescent blue, and classic silver. These fun mealtime tools are sized right for small hands and will grow with your child through toddlerhood and beyond.
Available at ahimsahome.com.
Things That Go Meal Sets
The new Tiny Footprint collection from Bamboozle is built for kids who love things that go. Each set comes with a cup, bowl, plate, and fork and spoon in colorful shapes. We like that the bowl and plates have deep crevices to help beginner eaters scoop out their food effectively. All products are sustainable, biodegradable, dishwasher safe and made with material called Astrik. Choose from themes: firefighters, shipmates, barnyard or construction.
Available at bamboozlehome.com for $30.
Independent Eating with Reduced Choking Risk
These grabease spoons have a built-in barrier to prevent choking, so kids can start using them for eating as early as 6 months old. This set is made from food-grade silicone, so it doubles as a teether for kids as young as 3 months. Available in gray, pink and teal, the spoon's handles are short and rounded for an ergonomic fit in little hands.
Available at grabease.com, $14.95 for two spoons.
ezpz Mini Utensils set
Encourage self-feeding with this toddler-size fork and spoon set. Both are narrow to better fit a toddler's mouth with a strong nylon head and non-slip silicone handle that's easy to grip. Bumps inform your child where the head of the fork and spoon end for sensory awareness. The set comes in lots of fun colors including lime green and coral. Recommended for kids 12+ months.
Available at ezpzfun.com, $15.99 for a fork and spoon set.
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 Summer 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; $22.99.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 a number of brightly colored animal prints.
Available at amazon.com, $14.49.
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