As a mother, baking can be a very personal activity — a means of escape from the daily toils of reality, where you outdo yourself with each lovingly, and painstakingly detailed work of edible art. You consider this a haven of sorts, where a recipe, some ingredients, and a little TLC, give you the ability to satisfy cravings, feed hungry mouths, and unleash your creativity for everyone to see.
But as a mother, you also know that there is no such thing as an “escape from your family”, and the duties of motherhood. No matter how trivial, your daily routine is full of great educational and bonding moments, for you and your kids — to captivate their minds and and empower them with a sense of achievement. Baking included.
Family baking strengthens ties and at the same time creates learning experiences for everyone. Flour and cake mixes are more than just ingredients to create delectable desserts and confections. They create opportunities for you, your spouse, and kids, to interact and bake wonderful memories together. You not only get to appreciate the cake you just made, but also enjoy the process of bringing it to life.
Baking with your family, instills in your children the value of spending time with the people you love. The time you spend with them, guiding and mentoring them, will be memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
Create as many opportunities for your families to bake together. Explain the science of baking, and how following instructions to the letter results in consistent products. Teach them that it is also possible to go beyond simply following recipes — that all great chefs experiment and make their own interpretation of a recipe. Show them how easy this is, with a good understanding of the basics, and adding your own taste and imagination.
Teaching your kids to bake is actually quite easy and has minimum equipment needed. All you need is an oven toaster, readily-available kitchen tools like bowls, measuring cups, a whisk, and a timer.
What to teach your children? Look for recipes online which separates activities for both parents and kids. We underestimate what young children can do. They love the sensation of squashing, mashing, pouring, and of course, turning dials or pressing buttons.
Easier tasks like cracking eggs, or mixing batter, can be assigned to your youngsters, while the more difficult ones like say, chopping carrots, are done by you and your husband. This will really be enjoyable for your child, as they understand the value of individual tasks and how positive results can be achieved by following directions. Parents should also take time to explain and highlight the skills and values that are imparted in the activity.
Baking exposes children to an entertaining exercise which comlements their natural curiosity to explore new things. However, before you dive into it head first, here are some final tips to ensure your success and the enjoyment of everyone involved.
- Give yourself twice as much time to finish the recipe (or don’t follow the recipe at all, to make things simpler)
- Work at a table where the height is comfortable for your kids.
- Explore the boxes, ingredients and all the equipment before you begin cooking. Look at the wonder and amazement in your child’s eyes as you do this.
- If you have more than one child, assign different tasks to them, to avoid tears and arguments.
- Have a plan B or another easy activity on hand just in case your little ones suddenly lose interest in baking.
- No one will judge or criticize your work. If it doesn’t come out perfectly, it really doesn’t matter.
- Cherish this time you have together. :)