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Mealtimes can be a loud, messy and, more often than not, chaotic time when a young child is involved.
And perhaps never more so than when they first begin eating solid foods. Whether you're just beginning weaning or your child is starting to feed themselves, there's so much for them to learn and discover.
What tastes good? How do spoons work? Will this meal look better on the wall?
Watching your little one experiencing these things for the first time can be immensely enjoyable, but it also has the propensity to cause a lot of extra stress and hassle. The perfect children's tableware can help with this. There's a whole range of children's crockery on the market that's designed to help target specific mealtime obstacles and make your life a little easier.
Is your baby a fussy eater? Divided plates allow you to sort different foods into different sections, preventing food from touching and presenting a more appealing meal. Does your child like to fling their dinner from the table? A suction plate sticks to the surface it is placed on, making it one of the best options for feisty toddlers. And, as with any children's item, a fun pattern or design is more likely to appeal to a child, increasing a sense of pride and ownership and helping to make mealtimes a time to look forward to.
The materials from which your toddler dinnerware is made is another important consideration; there are plenty of different options available, each with its own advantages. Traditionally, a lot of kids' tableware has been made from plastic, which is relatively sturdy and perfectly safe, as long as it's BPA-free. If you're looking for something more sustainable, though, bamboo plates are a great option, and increasing eco-consciousness amongst parents has resulted in a slew of more environmentally-friendly bamboo products entering the market. Silicone plates are also a popular choice; they're much more durable than plastic ones and less likely to leach chemicals over time.
IKEA, Argos and Amazon are good places to start looking for the perfect kids' plates. Big supermarkets often carry a range of affordable options, whilst smaller chains and independent shops offer more unique designs.
Whatever you're looking for, we're sure to have an option to suit you. We've researched and gathered together a range of children's plates and bowls so you can make an informed decision. Take a look below.
While you're here, you might also want to take a look at these best baby sensory toys to aid development.
Our Top Choice
Bumkins Silicone Grip Dish
This Bumkins silicone suction plate is the perfect all-rounder. The suction base sticks to most kitchen surfaces (preventing kids from sending it flying mid-meal) and it's divided into three sections, ideal for serving different snacks, separating savoury and sweet things, or for sorting different foods into different compartments for fussy eaters. It's got nice deep sides which make it easier for little ones who are still getting used to using a spoon to scoop up smaller pieces. It's made from silicone, too, a naturally bacteria-resistant and toxic-free material that's easy to clean and is much less susceptible to wear and tear than regular plastic. The plate comes in four fun colours (plus a very cute unicorn design), is stain-resistant and top-shelf dishwasher safe. It's specially-sized for toddler portions, but we don't see why you couldn't use it for a baby too. A worthy purchase.
- Price: £14.99
- Age: 1+
Best Bamboo Plate
GET FRESH Bamboo Kids' Plates 4-Pack
Bamboo kids' plates make a great alternative to plastic; they're strong, chemical-free and much more sustainable. This colourful kids' plate set would make a great addition to any family kitchen, particularly one with multiple children. Each plate is perfectly kid-sized and easy to clean and they all stack away neatly when they're not in use. The edges are nicely rounded (no sharp corners) and curve up at the side to aid with cutlery use. They're amazingly durable, too, perfectly able to handle the drops and rough handling that comes with toddler use. They're (top rack) dishwasher safe, just bear in mind they're not suitable for microwave use. They're also best used with kids' utensils, as adult cutlery can leave scratches.
- Price: £15.95
- Age: (we recommend) 2+
Best For On-The-Go
Skip Hop Zoo Smart Serve Bowls 3-Pack, Unicorn
These sweet little Skip Hop bowls are perfect for meals on the go. Three bowls nest within one another with a lid for the largest one, making them great for taking baby food out and about or for doling out snacks at a picnic. Each bowl has a convenient non-skid bottom and is microwave and dishwasher safe (so they're also great for storing leftovers). As with all Skip Hop products, the designs are adorable; we love the unicorn, but found the fox, dog, butterfly and llama designs equally heart-melting. Matching plates, cutlery and water bottles are also available in the range if you want a coordinating set (and who could blame you).
- Price: £10
- Age: 6 months+
Best For Clumsy Kids
Shopwithgreen Unbreakable Kids' Bowls
We find bowls make a better option than plates for particularly messy or clumsy children, as they're better at containing food. These ones have the added benefit of being completely shatter-resistant, too. There's a small handle on each side, perfectly placed for little hands to grab and hold, they're nice and lightweight and each bowl comes with a matching spoon (which, admittedly, is a bit too big for a baby's mouth, but great for use as they get older!). They're also made primarily from wheat straw, a renewable and toxin-free material that's completely compostable, so you need not sacrifice your eco-credentials in favour of a durable product. They're microwave and dishwasher safe, and can even be popped in the oven. In fact, we think they're good enough to be used by the whole family; they're certainly big enough and the pretty pastel colours are universally-appealing. A real winner.
- Price: £14.99
- Age: (we recommend) 1+
Best Plate For Families On A Budget
IKEA Kalas Multicoloured Kids' Plastic Plates 6-Pack
The price of these IKEA kids' dinner plates is unbeatable; at just over a pound for 6 they are undoubtedly the best toddler plates for families on a budget. They come in six fun colours, are relatively scratch-resistant and feature that useful raised edge to help kids scoop up food. Made from the same plastic used to make baby bottles, they're completely harmless, though unfortunately not sustainable (at this price, you can't have it all). They're microwave-safe up to 100°C, dishwasher-safe up to 70°C and also stack nice and neatly; great if you're short on kitchen space. A matching bowl set is also available.
- Price: £1.25
- Age: (we recommend) 3 months+
Best Suction Plate
EzPz Mini Mat 100% Silicone Suction Plate
Suction plates are a great idea in theory: featuring a suction pad on the base they're designed to stick to highchairs, tables and various kitchen surfaces to help prevent kids upending their food onto the floor. There is some scepticism among parents about whether they actually work, and yes, some children will always manage to find a way to peel them off and send their dinner flying (some even seem to relish the challenge). Of all the ones we researched, though, this EzPz one came out on top, with the most parents saying that it successfully stayed put through mealtimes. And even if it doesn't suction quite as well as you'd hope, it still provides a stable, non-slip tray for food and removes the tipping over risk that you get with a bowl. It's made from high-quality BPA-free silicone, features three handy food compartments in the shape of a smiley face and fits most high chairs. It also comes in a reusable bag that's perfect for transporting it when out and about.
- Price: £30.19
- Age: (we recommend) 6 months+
Best Eco Purchase Plate
Zappi Co. Bamboo Fibre Eco-Friendly Kids' Dinner Set, Giraffe
This bamboo dinner set is a particularly great option for those looking to make an environmentally-friendly choice. The five piece set includes a bamboo plate with two sections, a bowl, cup, fork and spoon, so your little one will have everything they need for mealtimes, and all are made from a sustainable bamboo fibre - even the natural card packaging is eco-friendly! Every piece is nice and lightweight and easy for little hands to hold. We love the bold animal designs, which are available in giraffe, fox, lion and lemur varieties, and the price point: at just £11.50 for a five-piece set, it's great value.
- Price: £11.50
- Age: (we recommend) 2+
Best Silicone Plate
SILIVO Baby Suction Non-Slip Placemat
Silicone is becoming more and more popular when it comes to food and drinks products, and with good reason. It's lightweight, durable, super easy to clean and completely food-safe; there are literally no open pores for bacteria to lurk in! It's also much better at withstanding extreme temperatures and therefore less likely to leak nasty things into your food, as plastic can. It's also much more ocean-safe. In other words, it's a bit of a wonder material, which is why so many of the best toddler plates are made from the stuff. This silicone placemat is BPA-free, fits most high chairs and is dishwasher, microwave, oven, and freezer safe. The flexible pad is non-slip, sticks to the table and is impossible to break, and the cute elephant plate section is sure to put a smile on your little one's face at mealtimes.
- Price: £9.99
- Age: (we recommend) 6 months+
Best Childrens Plates For A Gift
Martin Gulliver Designs Dinosaur Malamine Dinner Set
This sweet little seven-piece dinosaur tableware set would make a lovely gift. Featuring two kids' melamine plates of different sizes, a mug, egg cup and three pieces of cutlery, it makes for an essential set for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All are inscribed with colourful dinosaur illustrations (ideal for little dino-lovers!) and packaged in a neat gift box. Dishwasher safe and BPA-free, but unfortunately not suitable for the microwave, this is a lovely traditional dinner set.
- Price: £17.95
- Age: 12 months+
Best For Weaning
Tommee Tippee Explora Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls
We found this stackable feeding bowl and spoon set from baby product specialists Tommee Tippee to be one of the best baby bowls for weaning. The innovative triangular base of each bowl makes it easier to scrape out soft food and is compatible with the corresponding 'magic mat', which keeps them in place when your toddler is ready to start feeding themselves. The two bowls are stackable so they can be stacked neatly away in the kitchen after use. The leak-proof travel lid fits over the biggest bowl and features a handy clip for holding the dirty spoon after it's been used, preventing it from making a mess in your bag. Microwave safe, BPA-free and able to be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher, this is a well-thought-out product that's sure to make a difference at the weaning stage.
- Price: £5.40
- Age: 7 months+
Best Plate For Design
Petit Collage Bamboo Dinnerware Set, World
We love the design of this five-piece dinnerware set, which is made from sustainable bamboo and available in three beautiful patterns. We particularly loved the muted colours and whimsical little animals of the 'world' themed set, but the forest and dinosaur designs are almost as adorable. The plate, bowl, cup, fork and spoon make for a really comprehensive set, one that's shatterproof, easy to clean and organic - bonus. A great quality set that would make a wonderful gift, though perhaps best suited to slightly older toddlers.
- Price: £16.56
- Age: 3+
Best Plate Set
BoBo And Boo Bamboo 5-Piece Dinner Set
This chic dinner set from up-and-coming Aussie brand BoBo and Boo is really lovely. Featuring a bowl, plate, fork, spoon and cup, it's got everything your tot will need at mealtimes in a pretty matching colour scheme. Each piece is made from renewable, non-toxic bamboo and is completely biodegradable. The neutral design means your child will never grow out of them, and they're designed to last for years. Top-rack dishwasher safe and available in seven trendy colours, this makes for the perfect toddler dinner set - you'll just have to make sure you're not tempted to steal it for yourself!
- Price: £16
- Age: (we recommend) 2+
Best Divided Plate
Qshare One-Piece Silicone Suction Plate
Divided plates make the best toddler plates for tots beginning to discover different kinds of food and are a great indicator of portion size. This cute little Stegosaurus divided plate has three segments so each food can be sorted into a different compartment, whilst the raised edges make it easier for your little one to manipulate cutlery and stop food rolling away. The bright colours and friendly dinosaur design are sure to engage even the most reluctant diners, and there are plenty of other animals to choose from. The plate itself is made from 100% food-grade silicone which is BPA-free, non-slip and suitable for the freezer, microwave and dishwasher. It's also stain-resistant and sticks to your child's high chair (though the craftiest kids may well outsmart this feature before long).
- Price: £11.99
- Age: 3 months+
Best Plate For Storing Food
Din Din Smart Stainless Bus Divided Platter With Sectional Lid
This stainless divided plate is, we found, one of the best toddler plates for storing food - whether it be snacks on the go, pre-prepared lunches or leftovers - due to the stainless steel construction and handy lid. The separate compartments prevent food from mixing and the food-grade stainless steel material stores food at various temperatures without leaching any nasties into it or leaving it with a funky taste. But the best part is the lid - pop it over snacks for food on-the-go or whack it on at the end of a meal if your tot hasn't finished and put it in the fridge for later. We love the cute bus design, too!
- Price: £22.50
- Age: (we recommend) 1+
Best Personalised Plate
Personalised Enamel Plate And Mug Set
Not On The High Street is a great place to pick up unique pieces. This personalised plate and mug set makes for another great gift idea; each one is exclusive and shows you've put in a little extra thought. Made from a lovely enamel with a classic blue rim, each piece is hand-painted one of ten gorgeous colours and embossed with your child's name and a number of stars. You can also leave a message on the bottom for an extra personal touch. Highly durable and dishwasher safe, this set would make a great addition to any family kitchen.
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top parent-recommended products across the web for families of all ages. If you liked our guide to the best kids' plates, why not take a look at our pick of the best baby bibs to keep your little one clean at mealtimes? Or, for something different take a look at our favourite swivel car seats.
- Price: £27
- Age: (we recommend) 3+
Originally from Manchester, Olivia has spent the last couple of years living between Toronto and Vancouver. She now works as a freelance writer in London and loves literature, travel and eating anything sweet. Her love of spending time with children began when she worked as an au pair in Paris.