Baking with Toddlers
Baking is a great tool for teaching toddlers about the senses. Kids can touch, smell, taste, see and even hear things while baking and cooking. However lately baking hasn’t been as much fun at our house . A certain 2 year old demands to use the mixer, and not in a safe way. When I say no, the theatrics start and the fun we were having comes to an end. So instead of giving up making cookies all together I came to a compromise, so we can keep learning and having fun.
- Be realistic about your expectations, taste testing is pretty much guaranteed no matter how many times you ask them not to.
- I use pre- mixed dough. I like store bought because I am irrationally terrified of salmonella, and I know my son will taste test , as will I. If your toddler and you can happily do the steps of making your own dough, by all means do. There are great lessons about measurement that come from that step.
- Skip steps your child has had issues with in the past- don’t give them up forever just for now. For us this means no mixer, I’ll try again soon but not yet. It may be touching a hot stove that is a trouble spot for you, in that case focus on the mixing and bake after your child is in bed for nap or the night. Small adjustments can be made to keep having fun.
- Put the premixed dough into a bowl and have your child mix it up, feel it and knead it.
- Add fun things into the pre-made dough. This adds a step of mixing that can be done by hand, without a huge mess. I have added candies to sugar cookies, chocolate chips to peanut butter, dried fruit to oatmeal and in these pictures my son is adding toffee bits and chopped pecans to chocolate chip dough.
- Allow your child to roll the dough into balls with their hands, use the rolling pin or cookie cutters!
- Do not bake with your toddler when you NEED to have 3 dozen cookies for a bake sale or church party. The stress of making enough cookies may be too much if a bowl gets knocked over, or too much dough gets eaten.
- After you bake enjoy your cookies and ask your child to tell you how they did that, you’ll be impressed with how well young kids can recount the steps you followed.