Baking with a toddler may seem impossible, but Summit Children’s Center has some tips and ways it could actually be fun and beneficial! Teachers and other educators already know this, but kids learn best when they have fun. One only needs to watch the faces of their children to understand how much they love being with you, learning from you and having so much fun. Learning doesn’t have to always come from a classroom. Children need to engage with the world around them. There is so much joy in helping your child to learn new concepts and discover new things.
There are many wonderful and educational things we can do right alongside our kids that don’t require lesson plans or textbooks. Anything can be a life lesson. A great activity to do with your children (and for getting messy) is baking with a toddler. Maybe even baking something from scratch. You and the kids get to taste the yummy results and you’ll be amazed how at how educational it can be. The important thing is being open to the natural learning process. The ideas while baking will inspire your child to ask more questions as their interest builds. They will want to know more.
Baking with your toddler tips
- Select kid friendly baking recipes. Maybe even pick a recipe you have made before. For a small child, a boxed mix is rather foolproof the firsttime. There are also many easy baking recipes for kids online.
- Have enough room for your child where messes can be easily cleaned up. There will be plenty of cleaning to do when you’re through (another great opportunity for your child to be your helper).
- For less mess, you pre-measure the ingredients beforehand. You can prepare small bowls with all of the ingredients ready to go. Although pre-measuring may minimize the mess, measuring is part of the fun when baking with a toddler.
- Have a spill area predetermined. A sheet pan works great for children to measure, pour and decorate over. It will catch most of the spills.
- Be patient and allow your child to experience the whole process.
- Enjoy. This will be fun.
Our kids are like sponges and this activity is designed to expand their minds and acquire new understanding. Just look at all the things they will learn while having a great time baking a cake.
Benefits of baking with your toddler
Math and Baking with a Toddler
Your child will measure and weigh the ingredients all while deciding how much can fit in a cake pan. There are plenty of math skills that will be necessary during the process of baking with a toddler.
There is no doubt that your child will quickly discover new words from the recipe whether you are reading it or they are reading on their own. They will learn the importance of following directions carefully. They have to read or listen carefully in order to find out what comes next. Have a clearly typewritten recipe printed for reference to while baking with a toddler.
There is no better science experiment than in baking a cake. Your child will learn how to mix ingredients together and how those ingredients react. You’ll see the wonder in their eyes as they discover why cream turns fluffy when whisked or how the heat turns the mixture into the cake. When exciting things develop right in front of their eyes, the questions will come freely. It’s an adventure and you’re doing it together.
Art and Design
From planning to decorating the cake, there will be many opportunities for the children to be creative. Marbling effects look great when using vegetable dye. Different shaped cutters help the creations take on new and fun forms. How about an icing sculpture on top? Try modeling clay for creating different shapes or for special occasions. This is also another opportunity for them to make creative menus featuring their baked delights.
Consider baking something that is rooted in another location’s tradition. Maybe you’ll bake Indian chapattis or Polish bread. All the while you can be discussing the culture and traditions from that region. And no doubt your child will be tasting new and different flavors. Finding special ingredients for your baking adventure will also produce new and interesting discoveries. Have fun shopping in the world food aisle at the grocery store.
Ecology and Baking with a Toddler
All food ingredients have a story. Let the discussion go in many wonderful directions. How is wheat grown? Where did the eggs come from? How is flour milled? How do all the ingredients reach the local supermarket? These question and answer sessions will open your child’s eyes to all sorts of learning. Follow the stories and discuss the importance of food, both local and organic. As a bonus project, visit a nearby farm and actually buy the milk, eggs, butter, and flour on location. Kids love to see the actual cow or chicken that made their cake possible. Visiting a farm will take baking with a toddler to a brand new level.
Many of the words associated with baking and cooking, in general, come from France. Bain-marie, chef, patisserie, coulis, crepes, choux, en croute are all French. Exploring the origin of words is a terrific learning opportunity and for your little ones.
Many of our common recipes have come to us over a long period of time. Perhaps they have changed throughout the years. Sourcing the old recipes online can be fun and very enlightening for children. Old cookbooks have a treasure trove of learning opportunities. Try the library for perusing very old cookbooks and recipes. You can even find recipes that date back to ancient and medieval times. Study your own family history. Maybe a special recipe has been passed down over generations. Did Grandma have a favorite dish she made for the family dinners? Are there other relatives that can share cooking stories? Your child will love hearing stories about their own family and the traditions that have been handed down over time.
When you and your children are finally able to eat the baked goodies, be sure to give them the praise they deserve. Get them to talk about what they enjoyed the most during the process. See if they mention how much they loved just spending time with you. Have them share their delicious goodies too. Give some to siblings, neighbors, and other family members. They will gain a good deal of confidence and look forward to doing it again. Baking is a great way of spending time with your children. It’s educational and fun! Sometimes making the cake can be better than eating the cake itself. We hope these baking with a toddler tips come in handy! Summit Children’s Center is here if you have any questions or concerns, and we are now enrolling!! Contact us for a tour of our Lee’s Summit childcare and preschool!