How to Make an Instant Apron
This little number needs no sewing, and it's spill-resistant, too!
You will need: Wrapping paper 18- by 24-inch coated cotton fabric or oilcloth Chalk Hole punch 2 yards cotton twill webbing
1. For a pattern, draw the apron shape (shown at right) on the wrapping paper and cut it out. Hold it up to your child to check the fit of the arm curve and the apron length.
2. Trace the pattern onto the fabric with the chalk. Cut along the lines.
3. Punch holes where shown. Add lengths of webbing for the neck loop and waist ties, knotting them near the holes.
Trim the webbing as needed.
Top Drawer Ideas
The right tools can help kids get comfortable in the kitchen. Look for products that are scaled for children (like the spoon and fruit baller, at right, part of a six-piece set of kid-safe fruit and veggie prep tools) or for unbreakable items that pile on the fun factor, such as the chopsticks-and-spoon combo, which is definitely the coolest new eating utensil since the spork.
Some of our favorites: Handy Tongs, Streamline Inc., $15.19 Bamboo Mixing Spoons, good seeds, $7.50 for the set Cookie Cutter (part of a set of three shapes), OXO, $7.99 Soft Spoon (part of a set of six tools), Curious Chef, $19.13 Bottle Opener, Streamline Inc., $14.19 Collapsible Funnel, Streamline Inc., $14.19 Chopstick Spoon, Koziol, $6.95 for a set of two Stackable Measuring Cups, Umbra, $10 Garlic Peeler, Siliconezone, $7.99 Fruit Baller (part of a set of six tools), Curious Chef, $19.13
Meal Mapping Center
Planning dinner becomes a family affair with this setup, hung inside a cabinet or closet door. Clipboards hold a universal grocery list (make your own or go online to find one; they're even available for specific diets and food restrictions) and a weekly menu tracker. Below the clipboards, hooks and loose-leaf rings hold take-out menus, a simple recipe finder, and a coupon keeper.
Grocery checklist: Train your crew to mark items on here as they use them up. Recipe finder: When you try a recipe that's a winner, jot down its name and where to locate it (cookbook? Pinterest? website?) on a hole-punched notecard, then slip it on a ring. Now it's easy to flip through favorites and plan out the week's meals. Coupon keeper: Collect clippings in a pouch that can be grabbed when you're headed out on a shopping run. Take-out trove: Punch holes in menus from local spots and hang them on a loose-leaf ring. Dial in dinner when everyone needs a night off! Menu tracker: Jot down upcoming meals for the week here, so everyone knows what's for dinner. (Let the kids flip through the Recipe Finder, and pick a few.)