Today, we present a fun guest post by Bethaney Wallace:
For bakers everywhere – even occasional dabbers – the idea of letting a child into the kitchen is one that causes stress and anxiety. While this is somewhat true for mothers, fathers, and daycare providers, the fear rises steeply by those who aren’t used to having youngsters around. But no matter a person’s comfort level with children, some fear is to be justified – after all there’s necessary heat, electric appliances, and the possibility for one humdinger of a mess.
However, with a little coaching and persuading, baking with kids can actually become a welcome treat – one that even includes a literal treat (which is a great point to tell any helpers).
Follow these easy tips to help baking with any age a fun, bonding, and fruitful event.
Start out by having a pre-cookie talk. Depending on the age of the child/children, you’ll want to explain that only adults use the oven (and why), and that unless directions are followed, the cookies won’t be edible. Once this is understood, it’s time to get out the recipe, ingredients, and baking sheets, as doing so beforehand may be distracting.
When making dough, be sure to involve the kids as much as possible. If they’re old enough to measure, let them do so. If not, let them pour in each ingredient – after all, that’s the fun part! Side bowls can also be used to make sure there are no accidents such as a broken shell or overuse of flour. While mixing the dough, you can also incorporate other fun elements, such as listening to kiddie music, wearing hats or aprons, or taste testing individual ingredients, like scientists or professional bakers might do.
As for the cookie divvying itself, let your helpers use their hands. It will be messy, but they’ll have fun … and its’ much easier than teaching the whole two-spoons technique.
As for cooking and cooling steps, this is a great time to prepare any icing or toppings, and clean up any dough or batter mess. (And what a great time for a lesson on cleaning up after oneself.) Here, rely on the music or dancing to transition to the next fun part.
Finally, it’s time for decorating, which is likely to be their favorite part – aside from the eating. Provide an option of candies and frosting colors for sugar cookies, while chocolate chip or monster cookies can use a douse of sprinkles or powdered sugar – anything to let them add a final touch.
Of course eating the cookies will be an obvious reward, but another benefit will be the quality time you spent together, as well as the lessons learned. Remember that baking with kids is a fun and exciting activity, and all it takes is getting them involved to have a fun and delicious afternoon.