One of the things I love the most about this time of years is all of the wonderful opportunities to bake with my children. I always enjoy baking with them and at this time of year, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen together. As they get older, they take on more responsibility in the kitchen. Just last weekend E made a lemon meringue pie from scratch. It was wonderful to watch him work and to enjoy the pie together after dinner!
Baking with children when they are young is important. It educates their senses and connects them to their culture. As my children become more independent in the kitchen, I find myself offering more classes at Studio June to families with young children so they can bring this experience home too. Check out our new Bake with Me 3-5 years class at Studio June!
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For those of you unable to join us for a class, here are some tips to help get your child involved in the kitchen:
- Work at your child’s level. Although a Learning Tower or a step stool has its’s benefits in bring your child to counter height, working at a low table can help your child feel in control during baking projects. He is better able to move around and stabilize his body for big movements like mixing and grating.
- Take your time when introducing each ingredient. Give your child time to smell the spices, feel the skin of the fruit, and even squeeze the dough. These are important sensorial impressions he needs to incorporate into his knowledge of these experiences.
- Take turns. Show him how to mix, and assure him that he will get a turn to try too. After you show him, invite him to have a turn. Then ask to have a turn again. Taking turns builds a great foundation of collaborative work.
- Have a child sized spoon (links to a great children’s cooking set!) and a adult size spoon for mixing. This way you each have the tool that fits your hand. Children learn to control their movements best when their tools are sized for their body. This also allows you to show your child how to mix properly with a spoon that is sized right for you.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let the little spills and drips go. You can keep a wet sponge near by and invite him to wipe up in between each step. Allow the bits of flour to fall on the table or the milk to drip from the pitcher spout. He will get more coordinated with experience and he will appreciate your calm demeanor while he is learning.
- Use a clear acrylic mixing bowl so he can see the mixture as you combine the ingredients. It’s like watching the polar bears swim from the underwater room at the zoo (or if you slip through the ice at the North Pole!).