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Gadgets

Assistive kitchen devices meet many needs

Kitchen tools designed to help those with physical impairments can also give your kids more independence.

I've mentioned before that my interest in assistive devices is motivated by my son. But here's the thing: even if no one in your family has a physical disability or developmental issues, a lot of these products could still be useful in your home.

This handle lets you peel even with a weak grip. Parsons ADL

Anyone who cooks around kids knows that kids love to "help." And as tempting as it is to deny them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, it's really a better choice to honor them by teaching them the skills they'll need as they get older.

So here are a few products--designed originally as assistive devices--that can give your kids more (supervised) independence in the kitchen.

This vegetable peeler has an innovative handle that makes it easier for kids with small hands and less physical strength to peel their own fruits. And if your kids insist on eating their apples peeled the way mine do, you'll appreciate this simple, but useful, tool.

Easy-open jars make food accessible. Parsons ADL

These clear food storage jars make it easy for kids to get their hands on cereal and other staples. In our house, even the four-year-old is expected to get his own breakfast. Yes, there's usually some spilled milk on the floor. But no point in crying over it, right? These jars open with a single press to the spot on the rim; press the middle of the lid to reseal.

The raised rear of the plate lets kids get food on the fork. Parsons ADL

And for more mealtime independence, consider serving your kids with these plates. The skid-resistant base keeps the plate in place, and the high back wall lets kids push their food against it to slide bites onto the fork. It's breakproof and microwave and dishwasher safe.

You can see more assistive kitchen devices at the Parsons Web site. And remember, the earlier you let your kids get their hands dirty in the kitchen, the sooner you'll be able to assign them dishwashing duty.