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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

The Ultimate Guide to Kid and Toddler Plates



Toddler eating lunch from a plate and sippy cup
Calm Lunch Time

Any parent will know how big of a mess kids can be, especially when they’re eating. For parents, lunchtime can become a chore. It’s hard to keep your little ones clean when they’re eating.

Luckily, many people know about this common problem. Some companies have made dishes for keeping kids as clean as possible during meals.

We’ve compiled a list of the 7 best plates for toddlers, including ones perfect for traveling and eco-friendly options. For those parents of children with disabilities, we review a plate/bowl option that might be useful.

If you’re in a rush, here’s my favorite pick: Re-play 3 pack at Amazon

1. Best Suction Dishes

Munchkin Stay Put Suction Plates 2 Pack, and Munchkin Bowls, 3 Pack

Munchkin Stay Put Divided Suction Plates, Blue/Green
Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowl, 3 Pack

OK I’m starting off with a combo of suction bowls and plates. Suction dishes can be crucial to a safe and clean meal. These bowls have suction cups on the bottom which allow them to stick to any smooth surface. But, they won’t stick to most wooden or textured surfaces.

The bowls can be easily removed from the tables with the quick-release tabs located on the suction cup of the bowl. Just pull up on the tabs and the bowl pops right off the table!

The bowls in these sets are 100% microwave proof and can be put in the top rack of any dishwasher. They’re made of hard plastic so you don’t need to worry about injuries or broken dishes. This set also comes with a hard plastic lid to cover the smallest of the bowls.

View on Amazon (munchkin plates)

View on Amazon (munchkin bowls)

2. Best Dish Set

Plaskidy Kids Plastic Dinnerware Set

Plaskidy Kids Plastic Dinnerware Set for 4-24 Piece Childrens Dishes Dinnerware Sets Microwave/Dishwasher Safe BPA Free - Toddler Dinner Set Includes Kids Plates, Kids Bowls, Cups, Flatware Set

These dishes are durable and a perfect dinner set. They are small, sized for children to use so they aren’t easily knocked over.

This set is completely dishwasher and microwave safe, making it easy to heat up food on the plates and bowls. They do not suction to any surface like the Munchkin brand, but they are small enough that it reduces the risk of spills and messes.

In this set, there are 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 cups, and 4 utensils to use for eating. If you are looking for a good, versatile set that can rotate in and out of the dishwasher, look no further.

View on Amazon

3. Best Divided Plates

PandaEar Divided Unbreakable Silicone Plates

PandaEar Divided Unbreakable Silicone Baby and Toddler Plates - 3 Pack - Non-Slip - Dishwasher and Microwave Safe - Silicone Blue Green Yellow

Some of our little ones prefer to have their food separated from each other, I know I did! For them these divided plates are perfect.

They are made of silicone which makes them easy to clean and prevents any food or bacteria buildup that could happen on other materials. Because of the material, these plates are non slip.

They don’t suction but the silicone allows them to stay in place for long periods of time. The PandaEar plates are also extremely durable. It’s almost impossible to break a silicone plate.

They are divided into three sections so your kids can divide their food however they want.

View on Amazon

4. Best for Travel

Chef’s 1st Choice Microwave Food Storage Tray Containers

(Set of 3) Chef's 1st Choice Microwave Food Storage Tray Containers - 3 Section / Compartment Divided Plates w/ Vented Lid

Sometimes our kids want to take a snack in the car, to the zoo, or just to grandma’s house. This can be tricky especially if you don’t have a way to secure the food. With the Chef’s Choice storage containers, it makes traveling with food easier than ever.

It is a divided plate with a lid that secures to the top. The lid has a vent, which can let you cool down the food with ease.

Thee lids, however, are not divided. This can cause small food to get into other sections if it’s tipped over.

Check out my toddler lunchbox review if you are looking for school lunchboxes.

These dishes are completely freezer safe. Though there have been complaints of the lid warping when put into the microwave. Use caution if you are going to heat food up in them.

View on Amazon

5. Most Eco Friendly

Re-Play Made in the USA Dinnerware Set

Re-Play Made in The USA Dinnerware Set - 3pk Divided Plates with Matching Utensils Set (Mermaid)

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to be more eco friendly. If you’re looking for recycled products, you’ve come to the right place.

This popular dinnerware set is made entirely of recycled milk jugs. This makes them better for the environment than other dishes on this list. They won’t get damaged in the dishwasher, but it has been said that red sauces and certain foods could stain the Re-Play plates.

The plates in this set are divided, which is preferred among many kids. Included in the Re-Play dinner set are 3 plates, 3 spoons, and 3 forks.

View on Amazon

6. Best for Picky Eaters

KidsFunwares Robot Me Time Meal Set

KidsFunwares Robot Me Time Meal Set with Portion Control Divided Plate, and Fork and Spoon for Kids

When I was a kid, I was a very picky eater. One of my biggest pet peeves was when my food would touch. I always needed divided plates to avoid this, so this KidsFunwares plate would have been perfect for me.

It is divided into many sections to stop the food from touching. The different sections also encourage portion control and healthy eating habits. These plates also come in other fun shapes such as airplane, dump truck, tractor, unicorn, monster truck, mermaid and T-Rex.

Who wouldn’t want a robot shaped plate? The entertainment value of the robot itself makes me happy. The art is also chip-resistant, so there are no worries about throwing them in the dishwasher when it’s needed. But, because of the decor on these plates, we would not recommend microwaving them.

View on Amazon

7. Most Helpful for Disabled Children

Sammons Preston Hi-Low Scoop Plate

Sammons Preston Hi-Lo Scoop Plate, 9" Scooped Dish with Wall, Non-Slip ADL Eating Aid for Children, Elderly, Disabled, Non Skid Cutlery Assistance Device for Motor Control, Scooper Bowl

This plate is one of the most helpful on this list, especially for kids with disabilities and extra trouble eating. The front of the plate is ½ inch high, and it gradually increases to 1 ½ inches at the back.

The design stops food from being pushed or spilled off the plate. The plate is medium size at 8.9 inch diameter, which could be a con for some people but it would also benefit a child if it was closer to the size of their hands. This particular plate is made of soft plastic and it has a plastic ring along the bottom of it. The ring is made to keep the plate from sliding around.

View on Amazon

8. Coolest & Newest Plate Mini Mat

EZPZ Plate Mini Mat

ezpz Mini Mat (Blue) - 100% Silicone Suction Plate with Built-in Placemat for Infants + Toddlers - First Foods + Self-Feeding - Comes with a Reusable Travel Bag

The ezpz mini mat is a placement and plate all in one. The company was featured on Shark Tank and has been buzzing around, with items selling out in hours when they first launched. This mini mat is their most popular product.

The mat fits most high chairs. It’s dishwasher safe and made with food grade silicone. Each portion compartment sizes are 2 ounce, 2 ounce and 4 ounce. If you try this mini mat and love it, then the company offers bigger sizes with their larger Happy Mat (4 oz, 4 oz and 10 oz).

View the Mini Mat at Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions:

What age should you start using plates for your toddler?

Most parents will introduce plates anywhere from 12 months to 16 months. Suction cup styles have a better chance of not being thrown on the floor. We introduced plates as a fun motivating experience, along with utensils.

How to deal with your toddler dumping plates on the floor?

Kids are smart! Toddlers love to control their physical world by making things move from one place to the other. This includes meal time objects like plates, forks, spoons, and banana coins. Again, suction cup style plates work well, but I prefer to slowly include plates with a design and let my kids know its a special time. If they dump it on the floor, no more plate. While I don’t like to admit it, training a toddler involves repetition and reinforcing behaviors 1000 times!

Which plates can go in the microwave?

I’m not messing around, life is busy, the microwave can be a godsend for the millionth chicken nugget. All the plates on our list are microwave friendly, except the lid on the Chef’s First Choice (travel option).

Which toddler plates will stick to the table?

The Munchkin plates are suction cup based.

The EZPZ Mini Mat Plate will stick to the table because of the large silicone base.

Similarly, the Panda Ear plates are made of silicone and pretty slip-proof.

Final Thoughts

Our 8 toddler plate picks can be crucial for parents who need some extra help with their messy little ones. Kids can be a mess, but we love them for it.

There’s something on this list that could benefit any type of kid, from messy to picky and neat. These will make your life as a parent easier and your toddler’s life more fun.

Additional Resources

Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Abigail

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Rose Reinhard

Rose Reinhard is a Thai-American foodie from Chiang Mai, Thailand. She's been a creative writer since she could speak and enjoys making vegetarian/vegan dishes and reading about food science. She claims her air-fryer is the best purchase she’s ever made to date.

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