The love of baking has been handed down through generations in my family, and it’s already clear that my toddler daughter has the baking gene. She and I work on baking projects on the weekends so we can have some one-on-one time while the baby is sleeping and my husband needs a break. And every time my mom comes to visit, she asks if she can “make cookies with Granny.” As we’re in the thick of winter, it’s the perfect time of year to make sweet treats with your tot. If you’re ready to get in the kitchen, here are a few tips for baking with kids:
Be in the right frame of mind.
Make sure you are feeling relaxed and patient. Baking projects are not good to take on if you are feeling stressed, sick, or your attention is being pulled elsewhere.
Similarly, gauge your tot’s state of mind
If he/she is feeling tired, wait for another time. For that reason, time of day matters. Early mornings tend to be best. Right before nap time or bed time is not.
Get your uniform on
My daughter loves to wear the apron her Granny made for her, and she insists that she and her baking partner (whether it’s me or my mom) wear aprons when in the kitchen. A chair to stand on is also a necessary prop for baking projects.
Expect a mess
Toddlers don’t yet have great control over their body parts, so ingredients often only make it halfway to the bowl, or miss the bowl entirely. Stirring can be erratic, and things may go flying. Flour will get on the counter, on the chair, on the floor, and in your hair. But it’s OK. Fortunately, toddlers also love to help you clean up!
A scale is easier and more accurate than measuring cups when toddlers are involved, and it can help to minimize that mess I just mentioned. Tots can also work on number recognition when using a scale. The cookbook from local favorite Flour Bakery gives weight measurements for each ingredient and is a great resource for baking with kids.
Sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles
This one needs no explanation.
When you pull your baked goods from the oven, take the time to sit down with your tot and sample what you’ve just made together. If you’re doing cookies, taste as you go along. Eat some dough, sample some sprinkles, lick some frosting. And expect a huge sugar rush after the fact!
Now go and enjoy that sweet time in the kitchen with your little one!