Having four children, ranging in age from one to eight years, I have had the opportunity to test out a lot of different cups for kids.
Most cups fall into one of the following two categories:
1. They leak
2. There are too many parts to clean, find, lose, etc.
Some wonderful cups actually fall into both categories. I feel like I have tested (and promptly donated) way too many cups, even considering how many children I have.
As a mom striving for less stuff (read: Minimalist Mommy), this has been a struggle. Each of the kids have only two cups with lids, whether they be water bottles or sippy cups. When Champ turned one in July, I started thinking about the sad, sad day (coming all too soon) when I will need to ween him from the bottle.
Like most of you, my thoughts tend to have a domino effect (which, according to my husband, usually means him writing a check). I thought about Champ moving on to a sippy cup (he already tries to steal his brother’s), and how a spouted sippy cup is getting kind of ridiculous (and probably not good for his dental health, if I’m being honest) for Carl, who will be four this fall. An even bigger challenge here, is that when Carl gets something new, especially big boy related, Jude wants it too. I decided I would get new spoutless cups for the eldest two boys, and pass-down the spouted cups to Champ. My plans were derailed when Jude couldn’t get his new cup to function (you’ll see why in my cup review below).
Anyway, the starter Sippy cups I tried that had soft, nipple-like spouts all leaked (Munchkin Mighty Grip Trainer Cup, Munchkin Mighty Grip Spill-Proof Cup). I’m sure there are some that do not, but I never saw the need for that kind of transition, really.
Then, I tried all of these transitional cups:
This thing gets dropped once, the lid opens, contents spill out. No bueno, even if it is for temporary or occasional use.
First of all, the cover is attached with a very small plastic hinge. I tried these with Carl and Jude at ages 24mo and almost 3.5 years. Carl broke the lid off his in one day. The straws are also very narrow, making it difficult to even sip water…don’t even try a smoothie! Lastly, this cup has way too many pieces. Who wants to worry about washing all of those?
These cups are tough to clean and hard for kids to flip the straw open (at least mine). Again, too many parts.
This would be a great water bottle for the price, but the lids won’t stay on, and I bought two, so I doubt mine were just defective. I probably should have forked out some extra cash and purchased the Sigg bottles, but after discovering how painful it is to have an aluminum water bottle dropped on a toe, I decided to wait a few more years to try aluminum again!
So, in my humble opinion, the best sippy cups by age are:
12 months to 24 months (one to two years) : Playtex Insulator 9 oz Cup
Easy to clean. Only one removable part. Won’t leak unless you don’t screw the lid on correctly (my husband says I’m the worst person to ever attempt to put a lid on anything, but I do okay with these ).
Two years to 3.5 or 4 years: Playtex Baby Coolster Twist ‘n Click Insulated Cup
Easy to clean. Only one removable part (happens to be the same part as the spouted cup! Yay!). Missing the spout so looks more like a big kid cup (and it’s better for dental health) Won’t leak if you put the lid on correctly.
3.5 years until you’re not concerned about spills (ten? Lol): Contigo Autoseal Kids 14-Ounce Trekker Cup
This thing is rad. It’s basically your travel coffee mug meets Coolster cup. It doesn’t require the sucking action to extract liquid, which makes it uber grown-up. Instead, the kids have to push a button to open the hole and have a drink. This does take some coordination, so it isn’t recommended for kids too young. I originally bought a set of two cups, thinking my 2 year old Jude would want to try it, but he just couldn’t get the hang of pushing the button and drinking at once. It’s also a little bit bigger, so that may be part of the coordination issue.
It actually worked out nicely, we now have Champ, at 14 months, using the Playtex Spouted Cup, Jude, at 29 months, using the Playtex Coolster Cup, and Carl, at 3.5 years using the Contigo Cup.
Have I missed any awesome cups? Please share!