Create a lasting fun filled memory for your child by baking with them. Allow them to measure the flour, and lick the spoon (just like you used to do) or put them in charge of mixing the dough.
Baking with children is a great experience, spending time together and sharing special moments that will be treasured forever. Baking is also a great tool to teach children, for example:
Maths – measuring teaches them about fractions; while cutting the cake into slices, teaches them about dividing.
Reading skills – improve comprehension and vocabulary
Teamwork – baking encourages teamwork
Curiosity – baking will encourage scientific curiosity, for example making children question why the cake rises
Develop patience – follow the recipe step by step, and wait for the results
Completing tasks – from shopping for the ingredients through to baking, cleaning up, and finally sampling the baking will teach children the value of following through on projects from start to finish.
If mess is likely to bother you, remember baking with children is going to get messy. That's the fun of it. If you must, you can try and minimise the mess by letting them wear an apron or one of your old t-shirts to keep their clothes clean. If you're really a clean freak you can encourage them to help you clean up as you go, however this prolongs the actual task of baking/cooking and your children may lose interest or get frustrated.
Spread newspaper or paper towels on the counters and floor for easy cleaning if you want.
Remember to always wash your hands before handling food
To spare yourself a bit of anxiety, teach your children about all the dangers in the kitchen and how to prevent any danger, for example being careful around hot surfaces.
Here are some tips to keep them safe:
Ensure pan handles are turned away from the edge, to keep anyone from bumping into them accidentally.
Ensure the stove top is turned off if it is not in use.
Minimise falls by providing a sturdy chair or stool to stand on so they can reach the bench comfortably.
Wear oven gloves when handling pots and pans coming out of the oven.
Do not let small children handle knives, and supervise older children when they use sharp objects.
Above all else remember to enjoy yourself and keep your sense of humour!