It can be difficult to keep children occupied on rainy days or long school breaks at home. Consider allowing them into the kitchen to produce cakes, biscuits and muffins.
Children, like many adults, gain a real sense of achievement when making their own food, and it increases their confidence. They also get to know where ingredients come from and how food is made. Making food together is also a great way to spend quality time with each other and stop in the day’s usual hustle and bustle. They might even help with the washing up!
Safety in the Kitchen When Baking with Children
While it is too much to ask a three-year old to chop chocolate with a knife or preheat the convection oven, there are plenty of other things even very young children can help with in the kitchen. Delegate light tasks, such as stirring the cake mixture with a spoon or lining muffin trays with paper cases. They can also have fun sorting empty packets for the bin or recycling.
Always keep children away from hot ovens or hobs and do not leave sharp knives or graters within arm’s reach. Talk to them throughout – tell them when things are hot.
More confident children can crack eggs (into a separate bowl to catch the inevitable flakes of shell!), help weigh out ingredients or roll pastry for biscuits. All children are different and each parent will know their child, so it is important to supervise them constantly in the kitchen and only give them tasks that are safe and appropriate for their age and abilities.
Ideas for Recipes to Make With Children
Cupcakes, muffins and biscuits are all excellent projects for baking with children because they are quick and simple to make. Avoid any complicated recipes that take too long or end up with the adult’s nose buried in a cookbook for most of the time. The child is likely in this case to lose interest and slope off in search of the TV or another activity.
Refrigerator cakes are especially good because there is no cooking involved, apart from perhaps some melting of chocolate which can be done in a microwave by the adult. Children will enjoy mixing all the rubbly biscuits and marshmallow together in a Rocky Road recipe for example.
Keep a box of sprinkles, decorations and edible glitters in the cupboard and allow the children to choose the icings and sprinkles for their cakes. Don’t be a perfectionist – the icing will dribble down the sides of the cake and the sprinkles may not quite hit their target but the children will feel proud to have created their own beautiful cakes and biscuits.
Baking with your kids can be rewarding for both the adult and the child. It can increase the child’s confidence, give them a sense of achievement and educate them about their food. However, safety must be the first priority. Children must be constantly supervised in the kitchen and kept away from hot ovens, sharp knives and anything else that could harm them. Done safely, however, there can be a lot of fun in making delicious cakes and biscuits together with your kids – and then eating the results!
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