Baking with toddlers can be fun and frustrating at the same time. Fun because you have that bonding time with your kid and you can just see how your toddler enjoys baking. You can sense the excitement in toddlers as if they have gained a special access that they can finally hold and experiment on those items in the kitchen that have long been forbidden to play with. Frustrating because toddlers easily change their moods and you might end up doing half of the task because they’re just done with it. Worst is they’ll cry because they want to bake and do everything their own way without help.
But then again, every activity can be turned into a learning experience for toddlers. Kitchen activities help encourage discipline, waiting and following directions. Here are some things toddlers can learn while baking:
- Ingredients. Increase your toddler’s vocabulary by introducing every ingredient you’ll use. Flour, eggs, sugar, etc. if he’s 3 or 4, you can tell the use of some ingredients like food color, yeast and baking soda. Ask their help by telling them to give you the flour, sugar, etc. this helps them remember the ingredients. Constantly saying the ingredients like “put the flour back” or “let’s mix the flour with…” You don’t just say let’s mix this and that’s all.
- Utensils. Introduce the utensils in the kitchen. How to use them and when to use them. This is not done in a very formal way. It should come in a very casual one so toddlers won’t feel pressured. They don’t have to learn it all. We are just helping them get familiar with the kitchen.
3. Numbers. This is a very good way to check numbers. Ask them how many eggs are needed or how many cups of sugar are to be used. Be sure to have the recipe beside you so you can point it out to them and let them see the numbers. For older ones, you can introduce the measurements, too. For my 2 1/2 boy, I started with just a review of the numbers and counting. He counts the number of times I pour the flour (Ex. 2 cups, 2 teaspoons).
4. Alphabets. If you have alphabet cookie cutters, you can use that to review the letters or his name. I usually start with the letters that are included in my toddler’s name or names in the family so he’ll be familiar with them when he writes or sees them in the future. So I use J-A-C-O-B in most of the crafts we do.
5. Verbs.There’s a lot of action done in baking that kids can learn. It’ll be fun for them to learn words like mix, pour and beat while happily singing as your repeat the words. They’ll enjoy it and easily remember the words, and use them next time.
- Me, too! After doing this, your toddler might ask you to ALWAYS allow him to bake or cook with you. This happened to me when I asked my son to assist me in cooking one time. When he saw me preparing in the kitchen for the following meal, he wanted to assist and cook with me again! So I had to explain that it’s time for mommy to cook and for him to play (or else, i thought, I won’t finish cooking on time).
- Messy kitchen. Expect a little mess to happen. Toddlers are not that good at pouring or mixing ingredients yet. Just prepare a towel or tissue near you so you can easily clean up the mess. Having the tissue away from you might create more mess, when you leave your son to get one, and he decides to do the mixing on his own.
- Tasters. Be sure to have spare ingredients. Especially for chocolates. When we were doing the chocolate chip cookies, my son would ask for some morsels. Fortunately, I had more than what I needed.
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe we used Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe
For more recipes you can use for Baking with Kids go to BBC Good Food Kids Baking