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8 best cutlery sets for kids and toddlers: From melamine to bamboo designs

Master their table manners with these ergonomically designed utensils

<p>There’s far more to it than just being smaller adult versions  </p>

There’s far more to it than just being smaller adult versions

Self-feeding is a key developmental process in your child’s life – when they pick up a spoon or fork, your toddler is building on their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and confidence, so arming them with the right tools is important.

But choosing the right cutlery for mealtimes can be something of a minefield. Which handle shape is easiest to hold? Which material cleans up best? Which type of fork is going to help my child pick up food with ease so I can keep spag-bol fingers to a minimum?

You’ll find that most toddler cutlery is divided into three stages – the first stage comprises weaning spoons for babies aged six months and over. The second stage is usually 12 months to two years, where you can introduce a fork to allow them to practice “stabbing” their food. The third and final stage is anything over two years, when you should start to introduce metal cutlery – including kid-proof knives – to further develop their fine motor skills.

How we tested

We tested a range of cutlery on little ones aged six months up to four years, some of which have been designed for those first mouthfuls, and others for the more experienced mini diner.

We looked at design – whether it was easy for a toddler to grip, to fit into their mouth, and of course, pick up food from a bowl or plate. We also looked for sets that offered durability, that were aesthetically appealing to both little ones and parents, whether they were dishwasher safe, and sets that promised to encourage independent feeding with minimal fuss.

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The best cutlery sets for kids and toddlers for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Kidly 6-pack spoons and forks: £14, Kidly.co.uk
  • Best for cute characters – Skip Hop zoo-tensils fork and spoon Ferguson fox: £9.08 Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for grown-up eating – Tommee Tippee big kids first cutlery set: £4.99, Tommeetippee.com 
  • Best gift set – Babybjörn baby dinner set: £39, Babybjörn.co.uk
  • Best value – Beaba second stage training spoons and forks: £12, Mamasandpapas.com
  • Best for weaning – Bubbaboo bamboo and silicone spoons: £13.50, Jojomamanbebe.co.uk
  • Best for transitioning – Nana’s Manners stage 2 cutlery set: £12, Kidly.co.uk
  • Best for style – Oyou mellow spoons set: £14.50, Oyoylivingdesign.co.uk 

Kidly 6-packs spoons and forks

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

If there’s one thing you don’t need when you’re purchasing baby’s first cutlery, it’s unnecessary packaging. So, we welcomed the fact that this fork and spoon set from Kidly’s own label arrived in a slim, fuss-free, compostable bag. In the same sustainable vein, the pieces are made from food-grade, BPA-free silicone. They’re pliable and velvety soft to touch but also incredibly strong, which makes them great not just for weaning, but for providing some much-needed relief for teething tots, too.

They’re suitable for babies aged six months and up and are perfectly weighted for little hands to hold. We also found them to be incredibly easy to clean (though they’re dishwasher safe, too). Like all Kidly Label products, the design feels aesthetically pleasing and they come in a range of cool colours. And though at first glance the price may be a little more than you would prefer to spend, you’re paying for a durable product that’ll last from child to child.

Skip Hop zoo-tensils fork and spoon Ferguson fox

Best: For cute characters

Rating: 8/10

There’s something about Skip Hop’s bold prints and colourful characters that toddlers love, but it wasn’t just the adorable fox print that appealed to us. The chunky and colourful handles are the perfect size for small hands to hold, and the rubber grips along the edges ensure there’s no slipping. The set is suitable from around 12 months and up, but even our three-year-old tester used these with ease, so they’ll certainly stand the test of time. Stainless steel heads also make it easier to pick up the food when they’re learning to feed themselves. In fact, if we could get a knife with this set, we’d love it even more!

Tommee Tippee big kids first cutlery set

Best: For grown-up eating

Rating: 10/10

The utensils look big, but our two-and-a-half-year-old tester handled this set with ease. It’s certainly been designed with ergonomics in mind: there are subtle indents in the handles to encourage proper grip, the knife is sharp enough to cut through most foods yet rounded enough to feel kid-proof, and we particularly loved the spoon which, unlike many on the market right now, is both wide and deep enough for scooping up generous mouthfuls of baked beans or yoghurt without the food sliding off the moment child angles it into their mouth. The fork was also the best we tried – the antibacterial stainless-steel prongs are pronounced enough to pick up solid food from a plate with ease, yet the rounded edges are designed to protect little mouths. Overall, an excellent product and a great price point – we couldn’t rate it highly enough.

Babybjörn baby dinner set

Best: Gift set

Rating: 8/10

When it comes to design, BabyBjörn doesn’t do things by halves, and this pretty-yet-practical set doesn’t disappoint with everything you need to start your weaning journey. The cutlery is made from smooth, non-toxic plastic and the handles are soft and easy to grip. The heads of the fork and spoon are perhaps a touch wider than some of the other brands we tried, but our tester didn’t find this too much of a problem and was still able to enjoy eating independently.

Also included in the set is a generously sized, wipe-clean bib, a stable cup (that’s surprisingly difficult to tip over!), and a trefoil plate that’s been designed to make scooping-up food easier. It’s a good design – that works in theory – but it did move around a bit on our tester’s highchair tray. The set comes in a range of delightful pastel hues, including blue, green and yellow, and will survive countless runs through the dishwasher. It’s not cheap, but it does arrive beautifully presented in a box, so it makes a great gift.

Beaba second stage training spoons and forks

Best: Value

Rating: 9/10

With six spoons and four forks, Beaba understood the assignment when they created this handy set for parents about to embark on their weaning journey. For most of us, it’s all about the pureed foods first, and spoons are the one utensil we get through quicker than you can say “Here comes the choo-choo train!”. The short, convex handles are perfect for little hands – our tester coped better with these than some of the longer weaning spoons available, mostly because she couldn’t stick them straight into the back of her mouth (hello, gag reflex).

They’re made from smooth BPA-free plastic and are perfectly rounded to ensure there’s no damage to baby’s gums. The nature of the plastic means you might start to see a few dent marks once your toddler has more teeth and begins to mindlessly chow down on their cutlery at mealtimes – but it’s a cosmetic issue that shouldn’t interfere with feeding. We love the pastel colours and even after numerous uses, they haven’t discoloured.

Bubbaboo bamboo and silicone spoons

Best: For weaning

Rating: 9/10

Suitable from six months, these perfectly sized spoons from eco-friendly brand Bubbaboo are ideal for little hands. The bamboo handles make them super lightweight and easy to grip, while the stain-resistant, food-grade silicone spoon is soft against tender gums and makes scooping easy – even on a flat plate. Our eight-month-old tester got on brilliantly with them, and the fun, vibrant colours make them extremely pleasing to the eye. They even come in a cute little printed bag which is perfect for when you’re on the go.

One thing to note is that while the silicone tips are dishwasher safe, the bamboo handles are not. Still, our tester’s spoons underwent numerous rounds of washing up and they still look as good as the day they arrived.

Nana’s Manners stage 2 cutlery set

Best: For transitioning

Rating: 9/10

This second-stage set from the fine motor development experts, Nana’s Manners, has been designed to build feeding confidence in little ones aged 12 months and up. The spoon and fork are perfectly proportioned for small hands, and the unusual shape encourages children to use their palmar grasp reflex while also supporting the development of their pincer grip, which they need for activities like writing and drawing. Our one-year-old tester loved these and could feed herself accurately with no problems – the stainless-steel heads make them feel very grown-up and they can be used all the way up to age three. The handles are soft and comfortable to grip, come in a range of vibrant colours, and they’re dishwasher-safe, too.

Oyoy mellow spoons set

Best: For style

Rating: 9/10

Oyoy is an expert when it comes to filling our homes with beautiful things, and why should baby weaning be any different? These rather beautiful spoons are sold in sets of three and are made from high-quality silicone, which is not only flexible and soft on young gums but also offers a firm and sturdy grip. The twisted handles certainly help with that, too, and we found them easy for little hands to grasp and scoop. Of course, another thing we love about silicone cutlery is that it won’t go clattering to the ground as easily. These spoons are perfectly weighted to rest well on a highchair tray or bowl when baby is learning to eat on her own.

The verdict: Kidds and toddler cutlery

For young toddlers and babies just starting to wean, Kidly Label stole the show with its velvety-soft, perfectly weighted forks and spoons. We loved how easy they were to clean and the no-frills sustainability aspect. But for older toddlers, Tommee Tippee also deserves a special mention for its budget-friendly, well-thought-out Big Kids set. It’s the perfect cutlery companion for grown-up eating and is designed to last.

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