A few weeks ago, my son was sick and we didn’t leave the house for about a week. My daughter got quite bored and we spent most the week reading this:
Because she was such a trooper, I asked her what she’d like to do until her brother recovered and we could leave the house again. She said, “I want to make Fancy Nancy cupcakes.” I pulled out the cupcake book and let her pick a cupcake (pink of course) and we spent the afternoon making cupcakes. It made me think how much I love and how important it is to cook and bake with kids. Here are a few tips if your kids are like mine and rush into the kitchen every time you start pulling out ingredients.
- Get them their own apron. My kids insist on wearing their aprons no matter what we’re making.
- Let them pick out what to make. I consult with my kids on lunches, dinners and especially treats/desserts.
- Encourage them to smell ingredients. This is my kids’ favorite part. They even ask to smell the baking powder and soda. If it goes in, they want to smell it.
- The first “hands-on” thing I let them do is stir. I make sure the bowl is big enough to prevent to huge of a disaster. If I’m incorporating dry ingredients into wet, I usually stir a little at first to make it easier for them. If I’m worried about them slopping a wet ingredient mixture, I’ll put it in a sealed container and let them shake it. Much less messy!
- Let them taste as you go. When we make treats, my kids love to taste the chocolate chips (of course) or whatever else I may add. When I make something savory, my daughter wants to taste everything. Tonight we made a pasta salad and she sampled every ingredient, including every vegetable.
- I don’t always let my kids measure, but I do let them add ingredients after I measure. This is especially crucial when measuring something that has to be exact, like flour. If I’m adding an herb or spice to a dish, I often let my kids shake it in without measuring.
- My kids count measurements for me (cups of flour, etc). This is also a great way to practice counting when they are young.
- Let them decorate. This is a hard one for me because I’m an admitted control freak, but when I put a blank cupcake in front of my kids and arm them with sprinkles, I think I could win a prize for “Mom of the Year.” They’re not always the most beautiful cupcakes, but my kids have a great time and are so proud of their creations.
- I always preach to my kids about the importance of cleaning up after yourself as you cook, so I make them help with this. They put things in the dishwasher and put ingredients away in cupboards.
- Teach as you go. When we prepare a healthy dish, I like to tell my kids what benefit each ingredient has and how it will help them. When we bake something, I explain why we add certain things like eggs and baking soda.
What tips do you have for baking with kids?