Baking with children (of suitable age, of course) can be fun…. and eventful. But overall it can be a good experience. They don’t even have to be your children!
My girls and I our own little “baking club” that some of their friends have even joined. They love assisting and learning different techniques related to baking and they absolutely love eating the results. Even the mistakes! Not only do I get additional help in the kitchen, we get to spend quality time together meanwhile they are learning an important lesson- how to cook.
Have rules for children to follow when in the kitchen. A parent is the best judge of when their child is ready to participate in the kitchen and when they can be allowed to use the convection oven, microwave and other appliances and sharp utensils. Follow the general steps for getting started as provided in the Getting Ready to Bake article.
Plan to bake with children at a time that is good for you. The baking will be a lot more enjoyable. Also, anticipate a recipe taking a little longer to prepare and being a little messier when you have little hands helping. Keep ingredients on hand for “easy recipes”.
Have children tie up long hair so that it will not get in the way.
Have an area where young children can work supervised.
Wash and completely dry hands!
Take time to clean up as you bake. You’ll have less work to do when you finish and will be glad for it!
Keep a sink filled with soapy water and a sponge handy for “quick clean up”. Wash sharp utensils separately.
The first thing children should learn before assisting in the kitchen is how to be safe. Things that have become second nature to us will not be second nature to a novice cook.
Children and adults alike should wipe up any spills to avoid slippery floors and counters. A glass dish placed on a slippery counter could slide right off!
Make sure small appliances are turned off and unplugged when you finish using them.
Ever wondered why one pot wasn’t boiling then notice that another pot was smoking? Well, I have! The problem was I’d meant to turn on one burner and accidentally had ignited the opposite one. So make sure the burner that is lit is the one you meant to use.Use thick, dry potholders. Avoid using thin or wet potholders! Periodically check them for thinness and tears. When you feel your child is old enough to handle hot pots and pans, provide potholders in sizes that smaller hands can use safely. You can also try Baking Set for Kids.
Keep the handles of pots and pans pointing towards the center of the stovetop, being careful that they are not over another burner. If they are sticking out over the edge of the stove they can be easily bumped into and accidentally spilled causing anything from serious burns to grease fires.
When you bake with children, it’s good to have a recipe that is not too complicated and can be followed easily. Remember to read through the recipe with children and address any questions they may have prior to beginning.
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