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Set Up Your Kitchen So Kids Can Grab Their Own Snacks

A little boy and girl eating strawberries out of two big bowls on a countertop next to two glasses of milk.
Evgeny Atamanko/Shutterstock

Independence is one of the many building blocks everyone needs to be successful. To teach this valuable lesson to your kids, you can start small. These tips will help you organize a kid-friendly kitchen, so they can grab (or prepare) healthy snacks on their own.

From setting up tools to giving them a little extra freedom, we’ll walk you through each step.

Why Do This?

Allowing your kids to do things on their own is a fantastic way for them to learn how to perform tasks efficiently. Like adults, children also learn by trial and error.

The kitchen is a fantastic place to start when you consider that most kids eat three meals, plus at least two snacks per day.

Allowing your child to take on small meal-preparation tasks in the kitchen teaches him responsibility, while also showing you have confidence in him.

If you teach your child now how to get herself a snack, you might one day have your very own personal chef whipping out five-star meals for you.

Here are a few ways you can create a kid-friendly kitchen and help your kids become more independent by performing specific tasks.

Dedicate a Space for Dishes

Providing easy access to your child’s favorite eating tools is an excellent first step to create a kid-friendly kitchen. This might involve a bit of reorganizing, but it’s well worth it.

Find a low cabinet or drawer where you can set aside some space for kid-friendly bowls, utensils, cups, and napkins.

Show them their special cabinet or drawer, and ask them to grab specific tools. Continue doing this until they can perform the task themselves.

Keep a Stool Handy

A child's feet and legs on a step stool in front of a fridge next to a little dog.
Demkat/Shutterstock

If you don’t have any extra space in a low drawer or cabinet, keep a step stool handy so your child can safely reach what she needs.

Washing hands is an essential step before preparing food, so a stool will also come in handy for little ones to reach the sink.

Once your children are successful at grabbing snacks, they can start helping with other tasks, like wiping counters or washing dishes. All of these duties will come easier, especially if they have a step stool to help.

Pre-Portioned Snacks

Be sure to also set up a dedicated snack space in a lower cabinet (or drawer) and on a low shelf in the fridge. These spaces should be easy for your child to access, so she can grab whatever she needs.

Pre-portioned snacks are also a great way to teach your kids about healthy portion control, so they won’t spoil their meals.

Fill some baggies with your child’s favorite snacks to keep between-meal portions small, yet satisfying. For an eco-friendly approach, you can use small storage containers that are easy for your kids to open.

Take things a step further and involve your little ones in preparing their snacks. They’ll be more excited about eating them because they made them.

You can also set up an easy-to-reach station in the fridge for juice boxes and sippy cups filled with water. This way, they can also grab a drink to go with their snack.

Pantry Snacks

The following healthy and filling snacks are ideal for your kids to grab from their special pantry space:

  • Cheerios
  • Whole-grain granola bars
  • Trail mix
  • Snap-pea crisps
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Raisins
  • Natural fruit leather
  • Fruit cups (packed in water)
  • Applesauce

Fridge Snacks

You can easily store the following healthy snacks in the fridge on your kid’s special shelf:

  • String cheese
  • Sliced cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Sliced fruit
  • Prepared veggies
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Hummus and pita bread
  • Guacamole and multigrain tortilla chips
  • Cottage cheese

Teach Cleanup, Too

Cleanup is another essential task that will help your child develop a sense of responsibility and self-reliance.

Be sure to keep the tasks small and realistic, though. For example, it might be something as simple as throwing a baggie in the trash or placing a container in the sink.

The task might be small, but the lesson will last a lifetime.


Empower your kids by allowing them to take on more responsibility in the kitchen! Just reorganizing a few things can transform your kitchen into a fun learning zone.

Remember to be patient and use plenty of positive praise along the way. They’ll be making their own lunch in no time!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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