Baking with kids top tips
Dad’s Top Tips for Baking with the Kids
Read a daddy blogger’s thoughts on how to combine the fun of baking and mess making, and the educational benefits of getting your kids to help you in the kitchen.
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John Adams is a married father with two young daughters. He is the main carer for his children while his wife works full time...
Dad’s top tips for baking with kids
I quite regularly cook with Helen, my eldest daughter. Most of the time we cook evening meals but we do sometimes bake together. She is five years old, so she’s at the ideal age to have fun in the kitchen (I’m afraid little sister is only 19 months so I haven’t given her the chance to cook just yet).
I’d be lying to say I’m some kind of Mary Berry, but I have learned a few things along the way. If you haven’t tried baking with your child before, here are a few tips from me.
Cutting, slicing, dicing and mixing. Is it safe?
This is a very important point; how much freedom should you give your child in the kitchen? Helen gets to mix things, weigh things, pour things and whisk things. When it comes to the oven or hob, mummy and daddy take over. Knives are also off limits. Helen’s very sensible so she could be trusted to behave sensibly with one, but there’s always the risk of an accident.
Licking the spoon/bowl is also forbidden. I clearly remember doing this as a kid, but I wouldn’t let my children do it. This isn’t just because of the risk that comes with eating raw egg. I had a terrible experience after eating an under-cooked egg when I was 10 years of age. I won’t go into detail; suffice it to say I’m still getting over it!
Don’t underestimate the developmental value of what you’re doing
Cooking and baking provide the opportunity to teach your children all manner of things: how to measure and weigh and how to prepare food. Children should see and experience food preparation and understand that it doesn’t always come fresh from a packet.
Baking also has some less obvious benefits. We have been encouraged by Helen’s teacher to do more cooking with her. She can write perfectly well for her age but the way she grips her pencil needs a little more work. Using a wooden spoon and a whisk etc. in the kitchen will hopefully improve her motor skills and, as a by-product, the way she holds a pencil.
Teach your children about nutrition and healthy eating
Okay, at face value baking cakes isn’t exactly an obvious way to introduce your child to healthy food. You can, however, get them using bananas in banana cake or mix raisins and other fruit into a muffin or fruit cake. In my experience children learn a huge amount while enjoying themselves so use baking as a means to try out new foods and learn about what’s good for them and what isn’t.
You’ve taught your kids about fruit and all about weights and measures. Now give them the chance to have fun. Let them loose with sprinkles and hundreds and thousands. Let them pipe the icing and get it all over the place. It’s inevitable that the kitchen’s going to get messed up so mess it up a bit more in the name of enjoyment.
None of us, even I (I’m a stay at home dad), get to spend enough time with our children. Just have fun and enjoy spending time with each other.
If you’re a dad and reading this, don’t for one second think that cooking with your kids is a job solely for mum. This is the twenty first century; the kitchen is a man’s place just as much as a woman’s.
Regardless of whether you’re a mum or a dad, go into that kitchen with your offspring and have fun. If the kids learn something along the way then great. Most importantly of all, make sure you have spent some quality time together.
Baking Tips for Dads by Dad Blog UK sponsored by Flora.