When you allow your little ones to help you in the kitchen, along with having a great time, children receive lots of extra educational benefits in spending time baking with you. Consider these:
1. Math – baking offers children an opportunity to sharpen their math skills. Whether your child is helping you measure out ½ cup of oil or determining how many sticks of butter equal ½ cup, the math skills that they are learning in school are being put to use in a very practical, real life manner. What better way to solidify these skills, than by baking a chocolate cake!
2. Culture – If you try different dessert recipes from around the world and discuss them as you work together, your kids will learn about the customs, holidays and language of the dessert’s country of origin. Perhaps this would include some special recipes that you brought back from your travels in other countries.
3. Organization – Getting ready to bake requires preparation – reviewing the recipe, determining the ingredients that are necessary, checking the pantry to make sure all ingredients are on hand and compiling a shopping list for those ingredients that need to be purchased. All of these steps will develop your child’s organizational skills and patience.
4. Following Directions – Baking is a process and certain steps must be followed in sequence to ensure the desired result. You can help your kids read the recipe and follow the instructions step by step in baking a dessert. You can also ask them questions during the process like “what would happen if we frost the cake before its cooled?”
5. Responsibility – Give kids age specific tasks and responsibilities when you bake together. Young, preschool children can be taught to wash fruit or participate in kneading some dough. Older children can break and beat eggs, measure out ingredients and frost cakes or cookies. They all can take part in the clean-up process. Giving your kids some responsibilities in the baking process can teach them about completing projects and the importance of cleaning up after project. These lessons can be valuable in completing school projects and the ongoing tasks of getting them to clean up their room as they get older!