Baking with kids sounds great—at least, in theory. You spend time together, even teach something about fractions and following instructions, and at the end of the hour you can share a plate of warm, delicious cookies. Unfortunately, this Martha Stewart scenario goes up in a cloud of smoke—or should we say, flour. Half the ingredients will end up on the floor, and in all the chaos you may even forget whether or not you already added the baking soda. Here are some tips on how to bake with kids—and actually enjoy the experience!
Let go of perfection
Accept that you will make a mess, and that it’s highly possible that the kids will overbeat the batter or accidentally add too much sugar. You are not submitting your creations to the county fair, or even trying to look like the Norman Rokwell-esque photos in the magazines (which, incidentally, look that way because the moms and the kids aren’t actually baking—which is why the mom’s hair doesn’t have flour in it, and the kids aren’t fighting over who gets to hold the spoon). It’s going to get very crazy and halfway through it you will wish you never started. But we promise that it’s worth It, just because of the smiles on the kids’ faces.
Set things up
Try to pre-prepare the ingredients and tools. Crack the eggs, and have all the measuring tools lined up and ready to be used. Bring out just enough flour (not perfectly measured, but just enough that your child won’t accidentally add two extra cups to the mixture, because he lost track). Choose big bowls that can take clumsy handling. And keep lots of rags on hand for wiping spills.
Pick an easy recipe
This isn’t the time for delicate cakes or fussy desserts. Try muffins, brownies, and other simple recipes. Very young kids will enjoy recipes where they get to add colorful toppings (like marshmallows and sprinkles). And, accept right now that they’re not going to look like the picture in the recipe book. That’s okay—your kids will love them!
Embrace the adventure
Remember that the point of the experience is to bond and have quality time, not to bake. Baking is incidental. You’re actually after the moment, so enjoy it. Listen to favorite music and sing along. Take pictures. Laugh at the little accidents.
Photo from life123.com