Some of you may think I’m a bit crazy for admitting to this but here goes..I LOVE baking with my kids. I don’t stress over sticky fingers or flour on their clothes. I don’t get in a panic over buttercream icing in their hair or eggs smashed on the kitchen tiles instead of on the side of the mixing bowl. I embrace the chaos and love nothing more than to spend an afternoon in the kitchen, creating memories and yummy treats to share with my little ones. Due to my complete adoration of baking with my babies I am always surprised to hear other mums declare they can’t stand baking with kids. It baffles me that the mess of the kitchen and the inevitable imperfect bake at the end of it all are strong enough reasons for them to hang up their mixing spoon and apron until the kids and the risk of a flour explosion is eliminated. Baking with kids is so much fun and something I really believe every parent should try, even if it’s just the once. Need convincing? Well, here are 5 reasons you should bake with kids and my lovely friend Pam from Pams Bake and Baby Blog has even provided you with a really simple chocolate chip orange cookie recipe to try with your little ones today.
5 reasons to bake with kids
- Baking helps kids to learn their numbers – There are so many opportunities for your little one to help with counting when it comes to baking. For younger toddlers you could ask them to help you count the eggs you need for your cake mix, or how many cases you need. Older children can help you weigh out the ingredients, set the timer on the oven or turn the dial on the electric mixer to the correct number speed. If you use cups instead of measuring in grams/ounces then this is a very easy way for younger children to develop their counting skills. You could ask them to measure you out X amount of dry ingredients into cups and then tip them into the mixing bowl. Leo loves helping measure the ingredients, although he is only four he is doing really well at helping me count out everything we need to make our cakes or biscuits.
- Baking helps kids be creative – If you want to have a successful baking experience with your kids you really just need to let go of any high expectations for the final design of your bake. Cakes and biscuits made with kids are rarely going to be Pinterest or Instagram worthy. Baking with kids should just be for fun, if you have something you need to bake for an occasion that you want to look pretty then, in this instance, I would say wait until little hands are out of the kitchen. While a child’s piping, rolling, icing and drizzling skills may leave a lot to be desired, giving your little ones the opportunity to decorate your bakes can really help boost their creativity. I am happy to give Leo icing pens, sprinkles, sweets or any other decoration and let him and his imagination run free. So what if your cupcakes end up looking like a sweet shop sneezed on them, as long as your child had fun creating his masterpiece does it really matter?
- Baking is screen free time – I don’t know about you but I feel like my little ones are spending more time than I would like in front of a screen. Leo seems to be sat watching TV a lot when we are at home or pestering us to play games on our phones. I really think it is important to put the screens away and spend proper quality time together as a family, free from the distractions of the internet and kids TV. Baking doesn’t require screens (unless you are using your phone for the recipe) and it is a great way to connect and bond, talk to each other and focus on something other than what drama is currently unfolding down Adventure Bay in bloody Paw Patrol. Baking, for me anyway, is a no screen zone and I love that it is something Leo doesn’t mind parting with his beloved TV for.
- Baking helps kids learn patience – A lot of time and effort goes in to baking a cake. It takes all of 2 seconds to pluck a ready made cake off the shelf in the shops but creating your very own masterpiece at home can take hours. Baking requires a lot of patience: you need to buy all the ingredients, measure them all out, combine them altogether correctly before putting them in the oven, waiting for your cake to cook, cool down and then finally decorating and eventually actually eating it. Patience is a really important life skill and baking is a great way of demonstrating that sometimes in life we have to wait for the things we want and not everything can be given to us the second we want it. Leo is getting better at the whole patience thing, when he was a toddler it took a lot of patience of my part to explain to him why he can’t eat flour and eat biscuits straight from the oven!
- Baking is messy play you can eat – Just adding to my craziness here, but I love messy play. I don’t care if the kids make a mess, as long as it isn’t going to stain the walls or the floor then I say let them go for it. Some messy play does feel a bit pointless though, you let the kids paint their hands and feet or make muds pies and all you have to show for it at the end is a very dirty child and an even bigger pile of laundry than you had before. Baking lets your little one’s explore all their sense, they can cover themselves in flour and get cookie dough stuck in their hair but at the end of it all you get yummy treats to enjoy together. Cleaning floury hands is A LOT easier than trying to scrub paint from behind tiny fingernails anyway, just for the record.
I could go on! I have been baking with Leo since he was about 18 months old and Alex isn’t even one yet and I have already let him have a turn with the wooden spoon and a bowl full of flour. Yes it can get messy and your biscuits can end up all different sizes. Sometimes your cupcakes may be decorated a bit haphazardly and there might be little finger prints in your fondant icing but getting your kids in the kitchen and spending quality time creating something together is worth all of the mess and imperfect bakes in the world.
As promised, here is an easy to follow recipe from Pam from Pams Bake and Baby Blog for chocolate chip orange cookies. With Halloween just around the corner we decided to gives these cookies a bit of a spooky twist. Leo and I baked these on the weekend and they taste AMAZING! I’ll hand you over to Pam now, happy baking..
Chocolate chip orange cookies with a spooky twist
If you enjoy baking as well as parenting humour then please go check out Pam’s blog and follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Here are some photo’s of her recent bakes, good enough to make you want to eat your laptop screen right?
If you have not baked with your children before, I really hope this post has convinced you to give it a try. Now, as they say on Bake Off…on your marks, get set, BAKE!
Do you like baking with your kids? Got any funny tales from the kitchen or tips you would like to share? I would love to hear your thoughts.