Now that Jack is almost three years old (where has the time gone, really?) he's starting to outgrow the baby dishes we bought when we was first learning to take bites of mashed up bananas and avocado. He's graduated to eating everything from yogurt parfaits, to sandwiches, to spaghetti and meatballs. And most of the time, he wants whatever Cliff and I are having — whether that means what we're eating or the cup we're drinking out of.
We bought our dishes when we bought our first house. They fit the criteria we had: simple and affordable. And they've been great for the past six years, but they are chipped and showing signs of wear. Instead of replacing them with more of the same, I've started to look into family-friendly dishes. To me, family-friendly means a material that's impossible or difficult to break for kiddos and a classic design that feels just at home on a weeknight as it does having friends over for brunch.
Here are the dishes I've rounded up, but I'm sure there's much more out there. I'd love to know what you're using at home with your families!
1. Heller Dinnerware Set (available at Design Within Reach). Designed by Massimo and Lella Vignelli and originally manufactured in Italy in 1964 these pieces are now made in the USA. This design has a classic style and is great if you're short on space since the plates and bowls stack so nicely. The plates also have a large lip around the edge, which is helpful for younger kiddos to keep food on their plate. Made of melamine and polycarbonate, all pieces are dishwasher safe and the mug is microwave safe.
2. Wooden Dinnerware from Muji. These bowls and plates are hand carved from Acacia Wood, each with a unique, beautiful grain pattern. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and you can mix and match pieces to create a custom set for your family. Wooden dishes need to be handwashed with mild soap treated periodically with food-safe mineral oil. They are not microwave or dishwasher safe.
3. Duralex Lys Dinnerware (available at Sur La Table). With a simple, understated design these classic French plates will go with any table setting. They also make cups in kid-friendly sizes, which are recommended for ages 2 and up. These plates are made in France from tempered glass, which is 2.5 times stronger than ordinary glass. If they do break, they shatter into small chunks (like your car or home windows). They are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe.
4. Falcon Enamelware. An icon of British home life since 1920, Falcon Enamelware adds a classic rustic touch to any kitchen. The pieces are made of glass fused onto heavy gauge steel, and while they may chip over time, enamelware is often used for camping gear because it's so tough. They also make mini tumblers, perfect for little hands. Enamelware is oven, freezer, and dishwasher safe, but don't put them in the microwave.
5 & 6. Corelle Dinnerware. When I started researching break-resistant dinnerware, Corelle, came up again and again. Like Duralex, Corelle is made of tempered glass that shatters into small chunks instead of pointy shards. We had these growing up, and I only remember one dish breaking over a span of about 10 years. You can go with classic white or one of hundreds of patterns they carry, like this pretty blue watercolor set.