Alternatives to plastic cups and plates - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 03-06-2010, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I am wondering what you all use for your children's tablewear. My daughter has a lovely metal knife,fork and spoon set from ikea but we have plastic cups and dishes for her. And I hate them.

Where or what can we use for her to eat out of? And drink out of? THanks!

lady Mummy to Smoosh, 8-2005. Waldorf inspired homeschooler and crazy knitter!
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#2 of 21 Old 03-06-2010, 11:16 PM
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there are sweet enamelware sets..

they also sell a floral set as well.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#3 of 21 Old 03-06-2010, 11:43 PM
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We have a set of enamel dishes for ds but he has almost exclusively used our regular dishes and smaller glasses. He's never broken a single thing.
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#4 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 03:32 AM
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Our kids have always used our porcelain dishes and glass glasses (since they were two, that is.) The have never broken a single thing.
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#5 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 03:37 AM
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We actually use our real China to eat off of every day. They ARE our regular dishes & the only set we own! The salad plates are the perfect size for dd to eat from. She does use plastic plates, too, & used them much more when she was younger b/c I was afraid she would drop the real plates. At any rate, try your salad dishes, or pick some up at the thrift store. For a bowl, we have a beautiful baby set that a friend gave us that has a sturdy ceramic bowl & mug. The bowl is heavy enough to be perfect for learning to use a spoon & it has cute bunny pictures all over it. We also use these little pudding-type, I guess ramkin bowls. They are from the fifties & made of that white glass.

Sporting goods stores, like Dick's, have enamelware in their camping sections. It is cheaper there than to order from Nova. There are also many camping sites, like this one: , that sell inexpensive enamelware. Look how cute those espresso mugs are!!!!


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#6 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 04:21 AM
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We use regular dishes and glassware as well here. However, if that's not your preferred option you could try bamboo or wood (think salad bowls and plates).

Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
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#7 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 10:59 AM
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I would use the same dishes the rest of the family uses. In Montessori they do this, encouraging even 2 year olds to set and clear the table of glasswear themselves. It teaches them to be careful, and that things break when you are not careful. My son wouldn't even settle for slightly smaller metal silverware, he wanted EXACTLY what we had.
Enamelware is cool looking, but I worry about the enamel chipping and so on with everyday use? Any thoughts? I see it as more for play.

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#8 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 11:33 AM
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We use the same plates for them that we do for us. Usually I give them enamelware cups, though, they are lighter and I've found that they are more likely to tip over their cup than to drop their plate.

Mama to DS (7) , DD (5) and DD (2) and expecting a LO in 2/14

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#9 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 11:40 AM
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i often wonder about the safety of enamel myself. in all my years of antiquing and thrifting, i have always seen the enamel pieces with chipping.

we used real dishes and glasses early. the dishes were our salad plates and the smaller glasses were purchased at montessori services. my almost 6 year old loves mugs these days. for outside use, we do use plastic cups for safety reasons. but i'm looking at getting some bamboo cups, which is very readily available now.
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#10 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 12:18 PM
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For drinking, we use some heavy glassware I got from Williams and Sonoma long before I was married, let alone had any kids. My daughter drinks from these without a problem. One fell off of the island last weekend and did not break - but it did dent our maple flooring! I give the juice glass to the baby on occasion. He's still pouring more on himself than he is getting into his mouth, but, it's a learning process. I asked my mom for that nova natural set for Christmas for him, so, he eats out of those dishes. I also swiped our metal baby plate (etched with the three bears!) from my mom's house years ago and we use that for the kiddos, too. Sometimes, we use dd's porcelain dishes from her play kitchen which I bought at Ikea.

Mama to a dd 10/05; ds 3/09, dd 2/15 and two angels. Expecting another miracle 7/16!
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#11 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 05:00 PM
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How about regular dishes? I wouldn't necessarily use glass and ceramic for wandering around with a snack (although my dd does get tea from a mug), but for sitting at the table pretty much anything should be fine.

I understand that Corelle is particularly break-resistant if you've been having a problem with plates heading for the floor.
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#12 of 21 Old 03-07-2010, 06:15 PM
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We have quite an assortment here. For regular table eating we have Corelle plates and bowls as well as pyrex glass bowls. We have stainless steel bowls, plates and cups which are great for outside meals and snacking. For snacks inside we have a nice set of wooden bowls I got for 50 cents a piece at the thrift store. For our regular drinking glasses the kids use small jam jars. Dh and I drink out of the bigger size canning jars and the kids call theirs "little daddy cups". They are durable enough that they don't break easily when they hit the floor but the kids still learn to be careful with them because they are still glass.

. : Jill, mama to 5 kiddos, soon to be 6 in June 2013 : .

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#13 of 21 Old 03-08-2010, 03:13 AM
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our table wear is his table wear. we have stoneware dishes and stainless silverware and glass glasses. and cloth napkins.
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#14 of 21 Old 03-09-2010, 10:37 AM
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Dd has one enamelware set (and the plate did chip when she helped me unload the dishwasher and dropped it on our tile floor) that we got from nova naturals. Other than that, she uses regular plates, although usually the salad plate size, as our stoneware is pretty large. For glasses, she uses a small glass handled mug. They're really thick glass, and were actually freebie giveaways from McDonalds of all places, back in the 80s I think, although I got them at the thrift store. We've only had one casualty when she accidentally knocked it off the table.
They're like this:

Thrift stores are an awesome place to find smaller sized coffee mugs, too, which are great.

Mama to Eleanore Rae, born April 6, 2008, Adelaide Jane, born December 16, 2010, Hudson James, born August 26, 2013
Cautiously expecting surprise #4 July 2016
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#15 of 21 Old 03-09-2010, 11:01 AM
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We have followed the Montessori method as well. The younger boys get the smaller pieces of china and flatware we have - salad plates and forks, glass custard cups (I guess maybe they hold about a cup) and teaspoons, and little drinking glasses. These I get the the thrift store. My mil says they were containers for some kind of condiment back in the 60's. They are just the right size for little hands . They basically dip in and then flare back out at the lip. They seem to be indestructable too, plus they're cheap.

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#16 of 21 Old 03-09-2010, 03:50 PM
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We use corel ware (sp?) because our kids DO regularly and joyfully break dishes, glasses, etc. They are not gentle. I wish they were.

mama of DS(3) & DD(2)
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#17 of 21 Old 03-09-2010, 08:16 PM
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We used enamelware for a while, but unfortunately every single piece got chipped.

Now we use wooden bowls for taking snacks outside and regular plates inside. DS usually drinks from a glass mason jar - virtually unbreakable and a good size for him to hold.

SAHM to two amazing boys
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#18 of 21 Old 03-10-2010, 04:48 PM
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we use the nova set, i love it but dd likes the wooden bowl and spoon also from nova much more. She asks for the wooden bowl. She really enjoys having her own set. I dont like the wood because it soaks up food smells and also cracks very easily. We oil it weekly and it still is cracked, the little fork we had broke within a week. So i dont know i wouldnt reccomend it but dd woudl.

The enamel did chip a bit but not inside on the outside. I am not worried about it, i think it looks nice with chips, sort of older and worn and im not worried about lead paint etc in the nova enamelware. i would be worried about it in mic brands maybe.
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#19 of 21 Old 03-13-2010, 02:14 PM
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We use Correlle for the kids. I love that it is glass, but practically break-proof. My kids haev dropped it off the edge of the table onto the hardwood floors, and it has bounced and not broken! We have plates and small bowls. For glasses at the table we have small 4oz. juice glasses from IKEA that are pretty thick and sturdy. They haven't broken on the hardwood, but have in our kitchen sink. They also use the salad size forks and teaspoons because they are smaller.

For walking around snacks they use their Kleen Kanteen cups and plastic bowls (hides head).

I did want to say that I saw the cutest wooden (I think bamboo?) bowls, plates, and forks, spoons at Buy Buy Baby the other day of all places. And they were very affordable. I want to say it was Infantino or Sassy brand? Something very unexpected. They were a decent toddler size, but not big enough for kids (maybe 2 and under).

Amy ~ SAHM to DS (9) DD (5) and DS (2) And  expecting a  stork-girl.gif  late May 2012!

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#20 of 21 Old 03-14-2010, 11:15 AM
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We used the enamelware sets from Nova w/ DD as soon as we started solids on her. Theyve been great! We do have a chip in one of them, but it was after about a year of use. Same story, we dropped it putting it away. We use very small jelly jars from the thrift store for her glasses. (We started with shot glasses when she was about 9mo, then moved to the jars once she mastered that.) I think the clear glass makes it easier to see what she's doing, so easier to learn how to drink from a cup.

She's now starting to use our plates. But I would definitely recommend the enamelware for those starting stages.
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#21 of 21 Old 05-05-2010, 10:07 PM
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We found heavy restaurant-ware dishes at both thrift stores and restaurant supply stores. These are really thick, heavy dishes like in a diner. We also found simple Chinese teacups at the restaurant-supply store as well.

Additional ideas from our Waldorf teachers:
~ creamer pitchers so that the kids can practice pouring small amount of water themselves

~ have the children cut apple slices with cheese spreaders, on small wood cutting boards. I found these to work well for us at home.

There are also new glass dishes, but I have not tried them.
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