Most children love to make things. Whether it’s a colourful painting, an intricate craft project or their latest LEGO creation, the sense of pride they feel seeing and sharing the finished product of their hard work is priceless!
Creating in the kitchen is just another way you can enjoy the process of making together with your little one, but baking a cake isn’t just about the yummy end result… there are so many things to learn along the way.
Motor skills & coordination
Mashing, mixing, whisking and scooping – all these actions help toddlers and young children develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Even the simplest recipes require some counting and measuring. Whether it’s counting out the patty pans or reading the fractions of each ingredient, cooking is one way to begin the introduction of very basic maths concepts in a fun and practical way.
Uh oh! Some egg shell ends up in the cake batter, what should we do? Whoops! Missed the bowl and milk ended up on the floor – not to worry, let’s work together to clean up that mess …
Life is full of the unexpected which can feel overwhelming to children, but seeing adults respond in a calm, practical way to these little things can help them develop their own problem-solving skills and accept when things don’t go according to plan. If all else fails – have a laugh, throw the batter out with the egg shell and start afresh!
Social and emotional skills
Children learn about turning-taking, sharing and waiting through helping in the kitchen. Waiting their turn to mix, for the cake to rise or cookies to brown may feel like forever to a young child. But these are perfect opportunities to put the focus on working together as a team and being patient.
Including young children in the kitchen is a wonderful way to give them some responsibility in a safe and helpful way. Carefully pouring milk or helping to crack an egg, wiping down benches or washing dishes – children thrive when they are trusted with responsibility and begin to develop a sense of the very important role they play in their family.
So not only is it fun, the outcome is yummy (even when it doesn’t turn out perfectly!) and the skills learned are well worth the mess of spilled milk or overflowing flour that happens along the way.
Whether you make a tradition of Sunday morning pancakes or baking healthy lunchbox snacks for the week, creating in the kitchen together is a joyful activity with so many benefits.