Another sweet ParentHacks tip, from reader Chrissy — I love the elegance of realizing that the dishwasher door, when opened, is a self-cleaning, toddler-height food-prep area:
Stumbled across this idea by accident this week when my four year-old wanted to help with the cooking. She's kind of a wild stirrer and flour has a tendency to end up all over so I was feeling resistant to having her help. The dishwasher happened to be open and I got the idea to just set to bowl on top of the open dishwasher door. It was just the right height for her to help add ingredients and stir, and the pile of flour and sugar that usually ends up on the counter ended up on the dishwasher instead, making clean up as easy as closing the door :) It was definitely one of those "how did it take me so long to think of this?!" sort of moments.
Let little kids "help" with cooking by placing the mixing bowl on the open dishwasher door
(Image: Dishwasher, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from brownpau's photostream)