This Salad Spinner Doubles As a Kitchen Tool and Toddler Toy

We all love a multi-functional kitchen gadget, right?

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August 03, 2020

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At night, my toddler’s babysitter is an OXO salad spinner.

There are a lot of things I can say about this salad spinner — it’s sturdy, it’s functional, it dries my newly rinsed spinach leaves. But the most-important thing is that, after work when I’m frantically trying to get dinner on the table, this salad spinner is the ONE thing that will entertain my exceedingly active 19-month-old son.

My little one isn’t old enough yet to play unsupervised, and he has an uncanny knack for finding danger, so when I’m cooking dinner, I have the unenviable task of trying to keep him within sight, but outside of what we call “the fun zone,” which involves anything hot, sharp or splatter-y. (And, man, does he love things that are hot, sharp or splatter-y.)

Since he started walking and actively seeking trouble, kitchen activities have included stacking plastic nesting bowls, playing in drum circles using wooden spoons on upturned pots, carrying an empty kettle around and even tossing and rolling new potatoes. But nothing felt reliably sure to grab his attention.

One night, frantic to keep him entertained and away from my sizzling pan, I handed him the salad spinner. Five entire minutes later, he was still captivated. The rubber-topped pump on the lid is easy and fun for him to play with, without sharp edges or tiny parts. It teaches the cause-and-effect of pumping the top to start the mesmerizing whirling colander basket. He enjoys dropping toys — including those potatoes — into the basket to see them spin, and hear them rattle. Recently, we’ve tried asking him to spin to the rhythm of music we put on, giving him new challenges to keep the spinning love alive.

I love a lot of my kitchen tools — and in a small kitchen, everything needs to play an important role to justify the space it occupies. The OXO salad spinner isn’t small, but as both produce-prepper and toddler-sitter, it’s earned its spot on my shelf.

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