Many of us have very fond memories of baking with a parent or a grandparent when we were young. You can make these memories of cooking and baking with your own children, and encourage their interest in getting in the kitchen. Here are some of the best tips for baking with kids and making sure you both enjoy it.
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Accept The Mess
Remember that they are children and that mess is going to be inevitable. Baking should be fun, so don’t let the mess make you stressed. You can take some preventative measures to control the mess, such as putting a plastic tablecloth over the work area, cleaning as you go, and slowing kids down as they move through the kitchen. If flour and edible glitter dust are going everywhere, or an egg has been dropped, take a deep breath, and just carry on.
Let Kids Choose The Recipe
Look through cookbooks, websites, and food magazines together with your kids. Children will be more interested in baking if they can help to choose the recipe. For younger children, you can make the process a bit simpler. Offer them two or three recipes to choose between that look fun and are suitable for their age. Older children can choose a recipe on their own from your recipe books, magazines, or even recipe videos.
If something goes wrong while you bake with the children, don’t let it bother either of you. This can be a great way to teach your children that mistakes happen, and we can learn and grow from them. If mistakes happen, show them how to fix them, or how to avoid the mistake next time.
Find Age-Appropriate Tasks
Smaller children can do well with simple recipe steps. You can write these down for them or read them out so they can cross them off as they go. Young children can add ingredients that you have already measure out, spoon out portions of dough, and do simple decorations. Make sure they can reach the work area safely, so you can avoid falls. Give them simple tasks and plan for them to need breaks.
Older children can be given a bit more responsibility in the kitchen. Teach them some basics, like how to use the oven, run the mix, measure ingredients correctly, and closely follow a recipe. They can also try some more complicated decorating techniques.
Give Smaller Kids Smaller Tools
There are smaller versions of many kitchen tools available, or you can find some smaller tools for smaller hands out of things you already have in the kitchen. They can stir ingredients in a smaller bowl with a large soup spoon, for example. If you don’t have a child-sized apron for them, you can improvise with an adult apron that you have folded down, or just tie a large dishtowel around their waist. Kids can use popsicle sticks to spread frosting onto cupcakes. For rolling out dough, help kids hand-over-hand with a normal rolling pin, or give them a plastic drinking cup that they can roll dough with on their own.