One of the best things you can do for you children is to introduce them to the joys of baking early. This often means a bit of a mess for you and the baking process takes longer but it’s worth it! They remember it! They remember the joy. They remember the excitement of waiting for their creation to come out of the oven and they remember the pride they took in their finished product. All kinds of things are happening – the happy hormone is being released, the bonding is there, the teaching moment, they’re getting a confidence boost, they’re feeling the trill and magic of seeing something goey one moment turning into a muffin or cookie the next. And then – the sweet satisfaction of eating their own creation – together!
A few tips to make it easier:
- Have patience, be as prepared as possible and expect it to take longer than usual – you are doing a lot more than just baking here. If you’re organized – you can enjoy the process too.
- Get them little aprons to put on and teach them about washing hands before starting off.
- Have a little step for them to reach the counter or table and stay right beside them to keep them safe at all times as they’ll forget they’re on a step with all the excitement.
- When they are under 6 years – have everything weighed out before you start because when they’re young – they’re impatient and want to get mixing before you’re ready. When they are 6 years + you can get them to help weigh the ingredients out and teach about numbers, plus they have more patience. Yes – it really does get easier!
- Get them to sieve the flour, they love “making snow”, and mix everything together with a wooden spoon, and hold their hands in position with yours if using an electric whisk.
- Teach them about health and safety and remind them that the grown-ups do the bits that require knife work or going near the oven.
- Talk them through the different steps: “now we read the recipe, now we are getting all the ingredients ready, now we are mixing them together, now we are putting them in the tin, now they go in the oven and we put the timer on, now they need to cool and then we get to ice them”. You’re teaching them a lot about following instructions and having patience here – not just with baking but later when they start doing Lego on their own or putting the flat pack furniture together!
- Send them off to play while you tidy up and the muffins are in the oven.
- Get them back in for the big reveal and to see them coming out of the oven.
- After they’ve cooled, you do the icing and let them do the decorating. Let them know it’s all about teamwork – and everyone does their bit to get to the job done.
- Make yourself a well deserved cup of coffee and enjoy. You have done a lot more then making muffins here!