Ask Design Mom: Kid Friendly Dishes

August 5, 2011

Anyway, I have been looking for quality and cute kid-friendly dishes. The walmart plastic ones that show every knife mark and are probably full of BPA are not holding up. Any thoughts? à bientôt! — Allison Francis

I love this question, Allison! Although we didn’t purchase them with our (future) kids in mind, the pewter dishes we registered for when we married have been fantastic. The kids can’t hurt them! We use them indoor and out, dress them up and down, and they have a matte finish that has aged beautifully. According to the manufacturer, they should be hand washed, but I’ve always thrown them in the dishwasher.

I’m guessing pewter is not what you have in mind. : ) So I can also suggest the great-looking options sold at Mighty Nest.

Chime in, Dear Readers. Do you have kid-friendly dishes you like to recommend?

P.S. — Real pewter is actually poisonous, our dishes are actually a new, safe pewter-like metal.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michele August 5, 2011 at 6:56 am

We’ve always had luck buying children’s dishes and cups at Ikea. Depending on the age of the child, they have great colorful plastic options and also small glass cups and dishes for kids who are a bit older. Even though my daughters are 7 and 4 I still use the plastic dishes because we have ceramic tile floors in the kitchen. Anything glass that is dropped shatters immediately causing a potential disaster, so I stick with plastic.


2 Marisa August 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

We use Corelle dishes for the kids. They’re not plastic, but VERY break- and chip-resistant. They’ve been dropped many times and are still in great shape. Plus, I can get plain white, to match our “grown-up” dishes.


3 vicky August 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

I love Tupperware. For sippy cups we use the cups with the sippy lids. If you talk to speech pathologists they don’t approve of the sippy cups with spill proof valves. When the kids get older you can just give them the cup without the lid. And tupperware also has lots of picnic plates that I use for kids. Hard plastic that won’t break, show knife marks and is even safe for the microwave.


4 Erin August 5, 2011 at 9:13 am

I second the Corelle recommendation. They have clean simple designs, are next to indestructible, and have a great guarantee. I wish they were my dishes from the beginning as I’ve had several no-so-great sets. I’ll never get tired of these – - they really are that great!


5 leslie w. August 5, 2011 at 9:34 am

I’m really excited about Kidishes ( — Duralex glass dishes that look nice but are virtually unbreakable — the glass is tempered. You can check out videos of kids testing (read: dropping) the dishes on their website. Also, I really like Kleen Kanteens ( instead of plastic sippy cups — use can buy a sippy lid to go with them, then change it out later for a different lid good for older kids.


6 leslie w. August 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

I should mention that the website Gabby mentioned also has a lot of Duralex dishes. :)


7 Anne August 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

We have a tradition of the kids using the make-a-plate plates (the ones where you draw on the paper and send it in and it gets turned into a plate). Every year a child makes a plate at an event at our local school. Now that we’ve graduated we still go back!

Little ones get their hands traces and the older kids let their personalities shine on their plates. We love eating with these daily reminders of how they’ve grown.


8 craftyashley August 5, 2011 at 10:27 am

We use preserve plates and bowls for our kids. They are BPA and Pthalate free… and whatever. They have been pretty durable so far! They’re over two years old and look great.


9 Alicia August 5, 2011 at 11:18 am

Heavy white porcelain dishes. They don’t chip when you drop them in the sink, they are dishwasher and microwave safe, they are heavy enough not to slide too much on the table, and while they are breakable, it takes quite a fall to do it and they are cheap to replace. Kohl’s and crate and barrel have some inexpensive ones. And plain white porcelain dishes are classic. Dress up or down, fancy plated dinner or a hot dog and a handful of doritos.


10 Ashlea Walter August 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

We LOVE the Duralex tempered glass dishes, bowls and glasses. They are incredibly durable – they get dropped all the time and no problems. They’re inexpensive, eco-friendly and pair well with our adult white dishes. We have the Kidishes brand that we got from a local store:


11 Jen August 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

We use Corelle dishes with our girls – 4 and 3 years old. They haven’t broken anything yet, and they’ve dropped them many times. The girls are excited about using grown up dishes – they use the small plates and bowls. I’ve been very happy with them. As for glasses, we just purchased some 7 oz juice glasses from Bed Bath and Beyond and the girls really like using them. They are very sturdy and are narrow, so the girls can easily hold them. Perfect size for them.


12 miggy August 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’m a fan of the plain white melamine dishes from target. I have a set of really small plates and really small bowles (which were great for babies starting to transition to big people food) and a set or normal sized plates and bowels. I like the plain white that matches our dishes well and the sleek square-ish design. They’re inexpensive and you can buy each piece individually at any Target store.

PS the link only shows the red color.


13 bdaiss August 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I’m a huge Target Melamine fan as well! Although I admit I’m drawn to all the fun patterns they put out for each season. I always pick something that coordiantes with our “grown up” dishes, but love the fun it brings to the table. Okay fine I admit it. I’d probably buy a set for the grown ups too if my husband would let me! : )


14 Stephanie August 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I like Corelle dishes for kids. Well, really, we all use them since we had a tendency to break dishes around here. We have some melamine ones too, but I dislike using them since they’re not microwave safe and I distrust melamine on the whole. The Corelle aren’t the prettiest dishes I’ve ever seen, but in plain white they’re at least not ugly.


15 Jennifer August 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Green toys has a new line of dishes and flatware for kids (they also make dinner playsets — but now they have the real thing) that looks cute and is made form BPA free recylced plastic.


16 bettijo @ August 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I always look for new dishes in the springtime when the stores are stocking cute melamine sets for outdoor entertaining. It seems to be the best time to find more grown-up looking patterns then the usual cartoon-character assortment.


17 maribel August 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I love the Orla Kiely for Target melamine line–I wasn’t fast enough to find them in stores, but some occasionally pop up on Ebay.


18 bettijo @ August 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Sorry for the double post… just had one other suggestion come to mind. My sister in law uses the enamel-coated camp dishes (like these: she has an adorable rustic style and they fit in perfectly and the kids can’t break them. Also when I was recently at her house I didn’t think they could go in the microwave but she nukes them all the time and no problem. So there is another option!


19 Hillary August 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Our super-fave kid dishes are the melamine ones from Jane Jenni:

They are really cute and have held up to lots of use and abuse! My daughter and her cousins have good-spirited bickering over who gets which plate. They all want “book worm”!


20 Bekah Palmer August 6, 2011 at 9:08 am

I like vintagey ceramic plates that I get from thrift shops. If they break, I’m not heartbroken. A lot of times, you can find 8-10 plates of the same pattern for only $1 each. Right now, my pattern is upsa daisy by noritake.

I also have a set of fancy china plates that I got from the thrift store. The kids love eating on them for special occasions, and again, it’s not the end of the world if they break.
For bowls, we use ikea white ceramic small and cereal bowl size. They were also around a dollar.


21 Meagan August 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Haven’t actually tested them outbyet, as my “kid” is only 2 months old, but I like the look of the oxo plastic kid dishes. They also have nice looking silicone tipped spoons.


22 Corina August 7, 2011 at 1:05 am

I use a combo of polka dot melamine plates from Target (they are bright, inexpensive, fun and still look new) with Fred’s Face plates- super strong, ( I even emailed a request to the company to make an adult size because my Mikasa everyday set chips so badly). We also use plain white IKEA rice bowls (strong) for cereal and rice, mini latte bowls in bright colours from Anthropologie (they can chip but they are cheap) for ice cream, things requiring small portions and small cafe juice glasses. A fun indestructable cup/snack bowl is a squishy ball shaped silicon set that is made for camping- very easy to pack for travel/use in the car… dishwasher & microwave safe.


23 Annabelvita August 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Emma bridgewater melamine plates are beautiful.


24 Fiona August 8, 2011 at 10:40 am

I use MUJI bento plates for my children, ceramic but 4 years and counting they haven’t even got a chip. They are sectioned in three- a protein and two sides. I also think small melamine trays ” ikea do pretty ones,
are sensible


25 Dee August 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Another vote for Corelle! I bought just to use while my daughter was young–she’s 14 but I still love the pure white. They also seem to come super clean more easily than other dishes. I liven up the table with cloth placemats or a few pieces of handmade pottery.


26 Trina August 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

Super cute but I’m wondering – where did you get the chair?? I’ve been looking for one like that for ever! Did you buy it in the States?


27 Monique August 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm

If you’re looking for something very young kiddos can’t hurt, we really like this stainless steel children’s set from LunchBots


28 Annie September 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

I love using duralex glass dishes too. Another great alternative is the Kinderville silicone plates, bowls and cups. I’ve found that has all of these safe choices in one easy place.


29 kristen May 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Can you tell me where you got the chair that is in the picture? I have been looking everywhere for these types of chairs. They appear to be in every interrogation room on TV and in movies but are impossible to find! Thank you


30 Design Mom May 6, 2014 at 2:17 am

They are Emeco Navy Chairs. (Actually, they’re knockoffs. But decent ones.) You can find the real chairs at Design Within Reach, or at


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