Baking with your kids is not only a great bonding opportunity, but an educational one too! Using kitchen tools will help them develop fine motor skills, following the recipe is a good reading exercise, and measuring out ingredients practices math and counting.
Plus, seeing and tasting the finished product is a huge self-esteem booster, and sharing their baked goods is a valuable opportunity for character building. A little mess and extra time is worth the development with your child.
To make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible for both you and your little one, try these tips for getting small hands involved in the kitchen.
Pick your recipe
When deciding what you’re going to bake with your kids, it’s important to consider the complexity of the recipe. It’s best to begin with a simple recipe and work your way up to more difficult recipes as your kids become more confident in the kitchen.
Here are a few easy recipes to start off with:
Cookies are a great option because they’re easy to portion out and not to mention, kids love rolling the dough into balls like play dough and decorating at the end. If you’re making a recipe with a short waiting period or chill time, like these Super Soft Sugar Cookies, enlist the help of your little ones and make clean-up fun while you wait for the dough to chill.
Find a kid-friendly workspace
The countertop is most likely too tall for your little ones to easily reach and a stool isn’t the safest solution. Move the prep work over to the dining table and have the kids sit down while they measure and mix, or find another height appropriate workstation to create a safe environment.
Leave behind your worries about accuracy by pre-measuring dry ingredients into a bowl first, then letting the kids scoop out their less-than-perfect measurements from the bowl. If there’s any leftover, you can just add it in and rest assured that the baked good’s structure won’t be thrown off. This is especially helpful for measuring flour.
Incorporate fun tasks and build on skills
Baking together is a great chance to build on fundamental skills while still having fun. Your kids won’t even realize they’re practicing what they’ve learned at school because they’ll be too busy enjoying your time together!
If there’s a more difficult step that you need to do yourself, give your little one a “very important” task, like choosing the best spatula, stirring a bowl of flour, or counting chocolate chips.
Let them get creative with decorating
Let’s be honest, decorating is the most exciting part of baking. This is one area of baking with no rules, so let your kids exercise their creativity and own the decoration step! To make decorating easier for their little hands, you can either frost everything before you hand the baked goods over for decoration, or decorate with sprinkles before baking.
Baking together can become a joint hobby and a bonding experience for your family. The next time you preheat the oven, call on your little helpers to enjoy the activity with you!