There are a lot of reasons why you should teach your children to bake. For one, it’s a perfect opportunity for bonding. Other than your emotional fulfillment of being able to have quality time with your kids, spending time in the kitchen proves to do well for the children’s psyche too. Clinical psychological studies show that regular interaction at the kitchen and dining room leads to healthier children, better family and peer relationships, improved academic performance and less exposure to vices.
Second is that they are really interested! Unlikely math or piano tutoring, the kids’ enthusiasm is higher when it comes to baking. It’s been reported that cooking is the children’s new sport – they see it being done not just at home but also on TV and in the movies, and they want to do it too. They also enjoy the fact that they get to help at home and attach great importance to the chance they are given in serving their own food to the other members of the family.
Third, they get to apply the things that they learned at school, more of an extension to academic learning. Baking is math — when they find out temperatures for batters and liquids; when they start weighing and measuring the ingredients, dough and batter; when they calculate the yield, net weight and the nutrition facts label; and when they follow the time allotted for each baking process. It is science, too — they get hands-on experience about temperature effects, techniques and timing and problem solving. And it is also art in another form –they apply what they know about colors, artisan shapes, values, harmony and decorating.
So how do you teach children the basics of baking?
Make it fun! You can buy matching aprons, or get plain white kids aprons and allow the children to decorate it.
Choose a simple recipe. Permit them to have their own satisfaction in completing the job so don’t give them a complicated recipe to start with.
Bring all the equipments together. Teach them organizational skills by letting them get and arrange the cookie sheets, bowls, ingredients and measuring utensils.
Let them do their math. Help them recall fractions by measuring ingredients like ¾ teaspoon of sugar and 1 and ¼ cups of chopped macadamia nuts. Give them freedom to make their own measurements of the liquid and dry ingredients by making use of the right measuring cups.
Teach them the value of timekeeping. Demonstrate how to regulate the oven temperature and give them the task of keeping track of the time, making sure that the cookie or cake won’t burn.
Let them explore their creativity. Allow creativity to flow in shaping and decorating the baked treat, giving them liberty to choose colors, shapes and accents.
Be safe. Emphasize the importance of being safe in the kitchen, making sure that all pot holders, kids aprons, hair and towels are far from the heat. Teach them the proper way to hold and use hot pans and sharp utensils.