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The Joy of Baking with Toddlers
I’ve never really been into baking. It’s just not really my thing, but recently on a rainy day I thought I’d try my hand at baking with my 20-month-old. I went in fully expecting it to be a terrible disaster, but it ended up being so much fun for the both of us!
Fern pretty much loved everything about baking. She loved getting to help out in the kitchen, because usually I’m doing things that she can’t be a part of, and she LOVES to help with any grown-up tasks. She also obviously loved the sampling at the end, and it was a fun way for us to bond together and be productive while she was also learning. I was really surprised with what a great toddler activity this ended up being.
The process was definitely a little messy, but it wasn’t too bad and there were a few keys to making this experience go smoothly in case you decide you want to try your hand at baking with your toddler.
1. Have an extra set of hands
I totally could’ve done this without my mom there to help, but since she was over, I was more than happy to accept her assistance and it definitely helped make the process go more smoothly. I think now that we’ve baked together though it would be much easier to tackle on my own the next time.
2. Prep your ingredients
Setting up all the needed baking supplies during nap time to start the project when your child woke up would be a great option, because then you wouldn’t have to go rifling through cupboards while your child was waiting for the next step. Toddlers have a pretty short attention span, so having everything out and organized ahead of time is huge.
3. Divide up tasks
I thought ahead of time about what parts of baking would be most toddler friendly. Some things like scooping and cracking eggs are simply beyond where my daughter’s motor skills are at right now. But, putting the muffin wrappers in the muffin tin was a great task for her as well as dumping in the scoops of flour and sugar and mixing it all up with a whisk.
4. Talk as you go
Because there were moments of waiting in between the action parts of baking, I kept my daughter interested by talking about the things we had just done and the things we were going to do. I talked about the baking tools we were using and we counted scoops and eggs and whatever else we could count. We talked about ingredients and recipes and I showed her how we check our recipe as we go. There were a ton of teachable moments throughout and it was a great way to teach her new vocabulary as well.
5. Wait until the right time
I tried baking with Fern a few months ago and it wasn’t very much fun for either of us. Her motor skills and communication have improved so much in just the past two months that baking has become so much more fun. If you’re not sure if you’re little one is ready for some tag team baking, just give it a go, but don’t get discouraged if he or she doesn’t quite get it yet. You can try again next month, because they are always changing!