There is a moment captured in my mind of my son and I in the kitchen. I am standing beside him near the counter, he is standing on the kitchen chair with a spatula in his hand. Yes, there’s flour on the floor. But what really stands out is the smile on both our faces and the sparkle in our eyes.
Most young children will relish baking with you. Little kids are enthusiastic helpers and hands-on activities (like stirring cookie batter) translate into learning. Baking is also an opportunity for your child to imitate you, which they love. It takes extra time, planning and flexibility to bake with your child, but it’s also pretty fun.
Suggestions for baking success
- Choose a recipe you’ve made before or a recipe you know is simple
- Allow plenty of time. Baking with your young assistant will take longer than baking by yourself.
- Let go of perfection. Messes and odd shaped baked goods are part of the fun.
- Be patient.
- Invite your child to explore with their senses – smell the cinnamon, pound the dough or roll the dough into balls.
- Let them add most of the ingredients, dumping measured items into the bowl. Repetition is good for learning.
Benefits of baking together
Baking together is a time to connect. Here are some other benefits your child will gain from baking with you:
- fine-motor skills – scooping, stirring, rolling
- pre-math skills – measurement is a part of all recipes
- cognitive skills – following directions and paying attention
- family traditions & culture – recipes passed from generation to generation
- pride and accomplishment – a slice of cake tastes especially good when you helped make it
- healthy practices and nutrition – homemade sweet treats are better than processed and you can talk about moderation
Baking and cooking as a family has benefits beyond the kitchen or the classroom. Embrace this time together, have fun and make something delicious!