“Happiness is Baking with Children”
The UrbnSpice Chef
One thing I am known for as a Mom, Grandmother, and culinary educator is welcoming children into my kitchen. Baking with Children – I love it! My children would literally come running happily into the kitchen when it was baking time with Mommy. Their friends knew that they would always have a place in my kitchen island when they visited. Birthday parties often had a baking or kitchen activity component to them. My grandchildren are willing little helpers – I have even had dreams of all four of them around me at the kitchen island.
There are some tips to keep things organized and (somewhat) mess-free. Each situation is going to be a little bit different. If a child has been involved in a fun baking activity, this is going to be easier than a child who has never experienced any sort of kitchen activity with an adult. Many of my daughter’s friends told me that they were not allowed anywhere in the kitchen. Sadly, this happens. My goal is to change that.
Baking with Children:
Tips and Techniques for Baking with Kids in the Kitchen
- Gather together everything you need before you start.
- Tell them what you are going to make and in how many minutes you will start so they can get ready, too, which leads to the next step.
- Make sure the children are ready to do this: are they hungry? thirsty? cranky? Deal with that first. Sometimes a small high protein snack is all that is needed while you are discussing your fun activity.
- Washroom first, then wash hands thoroughly. Always. It is a great habit to get into before mealtime, as well.
- Find appropriate sized safe platforms for them to stand on if they cannot reach the counter. My daughter has a learning tower, which comes in very handy for her little guy. My other daughter has kitchen chairs that work well turned sideways and pushed up to the counter. I still have small low stools that my own daughters used when they were tiny.
- Decide before you start what steps the little ones will help with so that you are organized. It is not much fun for them to just stand there and watch you. Children want to help.
- Taste testing – it is part of the process however it should be under controlled circumstances. The children know in my kitchen that they will have their very own spoon for taste-testing. One spoon for filling, one spoon for testing – in other words: I usually use a larger spoon to dip into the bowl to fill their little tasting spoons. My grandson often says, ‘chefs don’t do that!’ if an errant spoon or hand finds its way into the mixing bowl. If they anticipate ahead of time that they will be part of the tasting process, it usually goes quite well.
- Results may not be what you expected – little ones sometimes have their own way of doing things. Show them how to do it – do not expect that they will know how to roll cookie dough into a ‘snake’ unless you show them first.
- Start out with something like edible play dough. Tons of fun for kids and teacher.
- Make sure you take the time with the children to stand back and feel proud of their accomplishments.
Kids in the Kitchen activities:
Here are a few ideas for your sessions with Kids in the Kitchen:
Please CLICK the link above to access my UrbnSpice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
- Patience and Perseverance
- Oven Temperature Accuracy
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The Urbnspice Chef
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