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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Baking With Kids

I have admit when I usually see blogs with mum's baking with their wee toddlers I get a bill ill to my stomach. There is just something so cutesy and almost false about it. Yes, I know it isn't meant to come off that way, but sometimes it just does. So this probably might come off the same way. Here's the thing though, the thought of baking with my kids initially made me do an inner cringe. I love baking, I really do, I just don't like the idea of having anyone, especially kids who are by their very nature gross, helping me with it. Then I start to reminisce about the reasons I love baking so much. It was an activity I enjoyedas a kid with my Granny. I remember standing on a chair and helping her by stirring the batter, measuring the ingredients and of course the all important licking of the mixers beaters (after it was turned off- health and safety first.) Then I feel guilty about the way that I feel about baking with my kids, so I drag my baking equipment out.

Usually when they see me pull out my baking suppliesI am met with a chorus of "Can I break the eggs?" The answer to that question is always a no, unless you like egg shell in your cakes. We might have learned that lesson the hard way once. I drag a chair up to the counter for KiKi so that she can mix. I instruct LaLa to find the 1/4 cup dry measuring cup so that we can fill the cupcake cases just right. Then we get down to the business of baking.

I have come up with some reasons that baking with school aged kids is actually pretty awesome after you get over you "Oh my goodness can you imagine the mess" inner cringe.

1. Baking is a great way for kids to learn important math skills (and no I didn't forget the s on the end of math. I'm American, we don't say maths. Although I have been known to actually say it. Don't report me to my people.) such as measuring and counting.

2. Reading and following a recipe teaches children how to follow instructions with a yummy reward if they do it right.

3. In theory baking can teach your children patience. Waiting for cookies to come out of the oven is even a test of my patience. I'm still working on it.

4. Safety skills are aquired when learning to bake. Knowing that an oven is hot enough to burn your skin off and that knives are only safe in the hands of adults are important lessons for kids to learn.

5. Science is taught during baking. Knowing why ingredients that don't taste very nice on their own such as baking soda, salt, and baking powder are used in recipes can inhance their grasp on scientific concepts. Also knowing that you can't ice a fresh out of the oven hot cupcake unless you want a gooey mess counts as science.

So try out baking with your kids. It isn't nearly as horrible as you might think it will be.