Baking with the kids. One part fun, five parts mess and usually a generous sprinkle of frustration. My mate Kate thinks one of Masterchef's spin-offs should be Masterchef With A Toddler Under Your Feet, for a truer test of real kitchen skills. But we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves for making junior baking fun. Ready, set, BAKE!
1. Their own kit
Having their own tools for the job is bound to make them feel ready for action. Baking Sets with utensils that are scaled down for smaller hands are just the ticket.
2.Keep it simple
If it’s the first time baking with younger ones, then choose a simple recipe. Think pancakes or pick a pre-made mix, that just needs eggs and milk. Want to be a bit more ambitious? Just measure everything out before they get involved. It’s easier for a younger kid to pour and mix, rather than get frustrated with all the other bits involved.
3. Make it visual
We all know kids respond better to pictures, rather than having to read instructions or listen to you. So take heed when it comes to cake making. Buy baking books, which have visual instructions that they can follow easily!
4. Stand tall
It’s no fun for a little one who can’t see what’s going on when they’re trying to bake, so take their learning to new heights. Give them their own portable step - like this Liewood one that comes in lovely muted shades - so they can stand tall at the kitchen counter. Or, alternatively, lay out everything on a table where they can sit comfortably. They’re far more likely to stay engaged if they can do, and see things easily. So simple, so effective!
5. What’s their flavour?
Every kid has a fave flavour, whether it’s chocolate, raspberry or vanilla. So embrace their food tastes and let them pick what goes into the mix. They’re more likely to be involved if they can’t wait to taste the end result afterwards, even though they’ll probably want to lick the bowl too.
6. Mess it up
Baking, or cooking in general can be messy! Or is that just in our household? Ahem… The solution? Embrace the mess! Put them in old clothes, an old shirt, or buy them a cool coverall or long sleeved apron like this one by Franck & Fischer that also does double duty for crafting.
7 . Add some learning into the mix
Baking can be great for a range of skills, so add this to their day. As you're cooking, talk about ingredients, the cooking processes and techniques. Cooking can be a great way to learn about science, geography and maths (through weighing) in a practical way. It's good for fine motor skills and coordination too. Learning through play. We love it!
So there it is - a few little tips to make baking with kids fun. You never know… you might have a future Bake Off winner on your hands #anythingspossible.