Ultimate Guide to Kids Plates and Best Plates for Toddlers 2021
From bamboo kids plates to melamine kids plates, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. So, when you're ready to start weaning, you'll need the ultimate guide to the best bowls and plates for toddlers. Answering all your important questions like ‘what are the best first foods’ and ‘what are the best plates for toddlers?’, this essential lowdown provides you with everything you need to purchase the best kids plates for your needs.
In this overview, we'll cover all the main toddler plates available, this includes; polypropylene plates, melamine plastic plates, bamboo kids plates, ceramic plates, stainless steel, pick plates, silicone plates, suction bowls and plates for toddlers.
The following information has been put together to help you discover the best bowls for babies, and best toddler plates – taking you from weaning through to preschool. Invest well, and your kids’ plates will last you throughout the early years too.
- A guide to kids plate materials
- What to look for when choosing baby bowls and kid plates
- Best baby bowls for weaning
- Best toddler plates
- Best plates for fussy eater toddler
- How many toddler plates do I need?
- Children transitioning to a table
- Where to shop for kids tableware?
1. A guide to the best kids plate materials
When looking for the safest kids’ plates, there’s a lot to weigh up. In terms of safety, we know that it’s best to avoid plates that contain; BPA, Lead, Cadmium, Phthalates, Formaldehyde and flame retardant chemicals.
This guide covers some of the most popular materials used in children’s plates, to help you make an informed decision. It’s always best to undertake your own research before shopping, looking at the FAQs and material list for each plate.
Polypropylene plastic plates
Polypropylene is one of the best kids plate materials, as it’s durable, safe and practical.
Polypropylene plates are dishwasher safe and highly resistant even to the most enthusiastic of toddlers, making them ideal for kids plates. What’s more they can be recycled at the end of their long life, making them an all-round winner.
Munchy Play plates are made from polypropylene
Melamine plastic plates
Melamine is a nitrogen-based compound widely used in the kids’ tableware industry. It is highly durable and resilient, but cannot be melted down for recycling.
Notably, a study published by JAMA International Medicine in 2013, suggested that melamine can leach from dishes into food (and subsequently the body), under certain conditions, such as high-temperature foods. This has cast some concerns on it use in parenting circles.
Silicone plates and mats
Silicone plates have become very fashionable in recent years. The material is technically part of the rubber family, making it a long lasting plastic that can also be recycled.
It is highly durable and can be used in the dishwasher, making it a good choice for little ones. Just ensure you opt for 100% food grade silicone products.
Bamboo kids’ plates
There are different types of bamboo plates, all of which are BPA-free. The first is a plant-based type derived from crop fibres (corn, wheat, etc) and bamboo fibres. This is biodegradable and dishwasher safe.
The other type is made from bamboo fibres which may include traces of food-safe melamine resin. As such, it is less suitable for dishwasher use. However, many of these plates also come with silicone bases for suction, so are not entirely biodegradable. Another consideration is that some of these types of bamboo plates are not as durable as plastic, so knocks and falls can easily result in cracks and splits. Furthermore, they need regular upkeep with regular waxing, making them higher maintenance than other materials.
Stainless steel plates
Stainless steel is a durable material that will last you for many years. That said, unless it has a non-slip feature, you may decide this it’s more suitable for older children that are less likely to push it around a table.
Due to the nature of the material, it cannot be printed on, making it rather plain for little ones. However, it is easy to clean, unbreakable and highly resistant to toddler tantrums!
Ceramic and porcelain plates tend to be less commonly used in the early years, since they can easily break, shatter and chip, making them less than ideal for inquisitive toddlers.
That said, the material is dishwasher safe and easy to clean.
However, do be aware that toxic materials - lead and cadmium - can sometimes be found in the glazes, clays and paints used. It is best to check each brand individually, as this can vary from plate to plate.
What to look for when choosing baby bowls and kid plates
It used to be so simple. Way back when, you’d simply go into a shop, pick a plate and that was it. Today of course, we are far more advanced and knowledgeable when it comes to children’s nutrition, with lots of kids plates on the market to choose from.
With this in mind, here’s a few things to look out for when shopping for plates for kids:
For the next few years you’ll be using your toddler plates regularly. Therefore, you’ll benefit from plates that are dishwasher safe, and are knock resistant, as well as plates that can be passed down to siblings.
Little ones are very tactile, so having a plate that will stay in place is important. Suction bowls and plates for toddlers are a good idea for the very early days of weaning, before they learn how to rip them off - we’ve all seen the videos!
Look for a kids’ plate with a non-slip base. This is ideal for providing a sturdy surface, a useful feature from weaning through to toddlerhood.
Munchy Play plates are non-slip
Ease to use
Bowls for babies are a great investment for the early days, as the high-sides help to scoop food, and prevent overspill. Kids divided plates make fun pick plates, handy if your child is particular about where their food goes.
Attractive to toddlers
As parents, it’s all too easy to be drawn to kids’ tableware because of their soft colours and pretty aesthetics. But ultimately they need to have toddler appeal. So, try and see it from the point of view of your child, for instance fun plates that bring joy to mealtimes.
Does it encourage fun eating, does it excite your child about dining, does it have bright inviting colours kids are drawn to?
Children’s plates today undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are safe for food contact, however you may also want to check their certification too. The safest toddler plates will have been independently tested and conform to British and European Safety Standard EN14372 (there are different regulations in US, Australia and the rest of Europe).
Importantly, look for kids’ plates that are BPA-free, and study the research around melamine to make an informed choice.
Let’s be honest, time is not a luxury we have as busy parents, so children’s bowls that are dishwasher safe are an added bonus. When thinking about practical features look at the upkeep of the item too - for instance most kids bamboo plates require regular waxing.
Life on the go
As you’ll often find yourself out and about, look for bowls for babies that are easy to take on-the-go and fit in your nursery bag, and definitely a fun plate that will keep them entertained when you’re in restaurants or at friends’ houses.
3 - Best Baby Bowls for Weaning
The best baby bowls are those that are versatile enough, not just for feeding, but also for freezing leftovers and storing snacks in when they outgrow them. Therefore, look for bowls that have lids and are freezer safe.
Another big question is when do babies start using utensils? This can vary from child, but usually between 15 and 18 months children will start to pick up a baby spoon or fork, so be sure to add them to your shopping list too.
4 - Best toddler plates
As your child advances, you’ll need a toddler plate or two. This is an important investment, as it will last them up until school age. It will also help them transition to solid foods and eating at a table.
Opt for plates that are BPA-free, and provide some stability on a table – be it a suction or non-slip base. Also consider fun and bright designs, that will entice them to the table.
As ever, the best baby products do more than just feed – they also make the mealtime experience fun and easy. This is especially important when picky eating behaviour creeps in – an issue that half of all parents of two year’ olds report experiencing.
Some of the best plates for 2 year olds are those that bring them to the table, as much as feed them. Making food fun for toddlers is one of the best ways to overcome mealtime struggles. With a built-in track for toys and cars, 93% of parents say that Munchy Play's fun plates improve toddler mealtimes.
5 - Best plates for fussy eaters
Fussy eating or pick plate behaviour is common between the ages of 18 months and four years old. First of all, the fussy eater meaning is someone who is selective with their eating or has a restrictive diet. While traditionally, the focus is about how to get fussy eaters to eat, you may benefit from looking at it from another perspective, such as how to make mealtimes a more enjoyable experience for children.
Remember for children dining is about the whole social occasion and sensory experience too. So, making the dining table an enjoyable place to be, is the best way to get kids to the table and keep them there
With this in mind, consider tableware that will bring them to the table and keep them there. For instance, one that is fun, and brings an element of play to dining.
6 - How many toddler plates do I need?
When children start eating regularly, you’ll need to have enough kids’ tableware for breakfast, lunch, dinner - and of course snacks. Then, there’s pots for snacks for nursery pick-ups and for when you’re out and about. Yep, get used to a lot of crumbs in your beloved bags for a few years!
As a practical parent, it’s normal to wonder ‘how many baby plates do I need’. Most parents find that anywhere between four and eight toddler plates and bowls will see them through, along with some snack pots and lunchboxes.
Keep in mind that you might need several different types. For instance, you might need picky eater plates for those difficult lunchtimes, and suction plates when they are dining with friends or siblings.
How many toddler plates you need also depends on how often you use and clean items. For instance, parents that use dishwashers daily may get away with less.
7 - Transitioning to a table
Transitioning from high-chair to table is an exciting milestone to celebrate. However, if you’re wondering ‘what age should my child eat at a table?’ rest assured it’s different for everyone.
Some children eat at a table from the get-go, if their highchair or booster seat does not have a built-in table, and allows them to be parked at a table.
Others will traditionally outgrow a highchair and move to a table setting anytime around 18 months and three years’ old. Key to this is when your child is ready to sit upright for periods of time, and of course always with adult supervision. If your little one is in childcare, their key worker will be able to advise on their development
8 - Where to shop for kids tableware
For unrivalled selection and choice, the best plates for toddlers can be found on Amazon. Any kids’ plate with a rating of more than 3.5 stars and with over 10 reviews is a good indicator of a popular purchase. Plus, Amazon is known for its quick delivery times, especially for Prime customers. It also beats traipsing around the shops!
Do also go direct to your favourite brands’ website and buy direct. You will probably be able to get free shipping or a discount this way. For instance, Munchy Play offers 10% off to customers that sign-up to its pop-up newsletter.
On the high-street, popular options include; John Lewis, Jo Jo Maman Bebe and Boots.
9 - In summary
Weaning is an exciting time, that goes all too quickly. Before you know it, you’re eager beaver baby who couldn’t wait to eat, is suddenly a mealtime monster that puts more food on the floor than on their kids food plate!
For the fun journey ahead, there’s a number of helpful features we’ve covered to look out for when shopping for the best baby bowls and plates on the market. However, ultimately, the best toddler plates are the ones that serve your individual needs best. This is just a helpful guide, we recommend reviewing each plate on an individual basis.