I am in love with the idea that there is always something to be learned by a simple, fun activity and always a bonding that comes with doing something both consistently and out of the ordinary with your mama. I am also aware that there are plenty of learning opportunities in the every day, but when you engage in some purposeful activity, there is always a memory to be made.
Baking is usually something that is slightly out of the ordinary for the kids and I. We don’t often spend a lot of time making baked goods because I need to, I do it because my kids love it and we get to spend time together that ends with a delicious result.
Trying to find healthier alternatives for baking has been a new endeavor with mixed results. That probably has more to do with the amount of baking that I do than the amount of healthy alternatives that actually taste good and turn out well. ;)
My Top Ten Reasons To Bake With Your Child:
- Fun. If for no other reason, bake with your child because it is fun. If you are not normally a fun person, choose this time to let go and have a little bit of it.
- Messy. How often do you let your child measure flour herself (dousing herself, you, and the floor in the process)? Baking is messy and sometimes it is good to allow a little mess into our lives.
- Creative. Want to make a recipe healthier? Out of an ingredient? Creativity can usually solve those problems and teach a flexibility in thinking. Especially for us recipe driven mamas.
- Engages fine motor skills. Small children need a lot of practice of fine motor skills and there is nothing like real world experience. Older children still need to work on precision and using kitchen tools safely. You will be thankful when they have had enough practice they start cooking/baking for themselves!
- Hand-eye coordination. We think about this when they are babies, but often forget just how important this skill is for our growing children. From being able to complete jigsaw puzzles to drawing to sports, children need to develop this skill and baking provides the opportunity to hone it.
- Math and measurements. Small children understand counting. 1 tsp, 2 tsp… and what better way to understand real applications of fractions than measuring cups for older children? Math terminology also takes on a new meaning as part of your child’s vocabulary: half, all, less than, more than, etc.
- Vocabulary. One of the single most important predictor of academic success is vocabulary. If you use all available vocabulary while baking with your child, they WILL learn new words and how to use them correctly.
- Build self-confidence. Children earn satisfaction from completing a task well. When it ends in a delicious snack or meal that the whole family can enjoy? All the better.
- Following directions. While creativity can be an important part of baking with kids, learning to follow the directions and steps is another important lesson to be learned. What would happen if you misread the recipe and mix up the amounts for sugar and salt, and then mistook baking soda for baking powder? I can tell you from personal experience that it is not tasty.
- Time. This is time spent with you and there is nothing more valuable than that.
Tomorrow I am going to show you what we made today and review a really awesome company that makes life a little easier for us eco-conscious baking mamas!
I baked cookies with my 3 year old last night and it was pretty awesome.
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