A new smart kitchen tool is exciting, even empowering. Examples:
Immersion blender. For a slightly older kid, it can be used to blend things like soups and sauces right in the pot. That saves you from having to transfer hot liquids into a regular blender or food processor, so it can be a safer way to puree things. Breville makes an All in One Immersion Blender that also transforms into a food processor, so kids can take on different levels of chopping as they get more skilled.
Ice cream maker. Just plain fun. Cuisinart makes one in a variety of colors, with a 1 ½-quart capacity and the ability to get to a frozen treat in less than half an hour. Get creative on flavors. Maybe enhance this gift with some sprinkles/jimmies.
Indoor Garden: Kits include the Smart Garden, which allows you to grow herbs, tomatoes and salad greens. AeroGarden makes indoor gardens as well, as does Back to the Roots, including a mushroom-growing kit.
Cutting Boards. Giving kids their own cutting board makes them feel as though they've arrived. You can support Unicef.com by ordering one of many hand-carved boards, such as the teakwood Daily Grain from Guatemala, or the Beautiful Meal board from Thailand. Or memorialize a family recipe for a child on a cutting board: Carver's Ridge lets you send in a recipe, choose a font and board size, and have your recipe engraved into a fully functional work board.