The holidays are approaching! For many of us, the holidays are about spending time with family and friends, and making tasty treats with these loved ones is often a tradition. This year, why not accomplish your bonding, baking, and even a little education all at the same time by inviting your child to help you mix up this season’s yummy desserts? Check out four things that your child can learn from baking
Adding a half cup of this and a teaspoon of that may seem simple, but hands-on experience can help your child understand measurement, fractions, and volume in new and deeper ways. Suddenly, the size difference between a half-cup and a whole-cup makes a lot more sense. You can even show your child how using the half-cup measure twice makes one whole-cup, while maybe saving yourself from having to wash the one-cup measure you had already used.
Holiday baking is a process, and working alongside you in the kitchen provides a way for kids to sort out all the little tasks involved. Ask one of your helpers to set a timer while you put the cookies in the oven. While the first batch is baking, show them how to be efficient by getting the next tray of cookies ready. While cookies cool on a rack, work together to tidy up the baking area. Teach your children to manage time, and at the same time, keep them busy while they wait to sample the desserts.
Have you ever goofed and used baking soda when you should have used baking powder? If you have, you know that the result is not what you hoped for. Take this opportunity with your child to talk a little bit about chemistry. For example, what’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Why do recipes require eggs? Helping your child approach baking as an edible science experiment may transform you from parent to mad scientist in your child’s eyes.
Recipe-reading is a great way to practice interpreting and following instructions, but recipes also come with a specific sort of vocabulary. Beat, whip, fold, whisk, and blend are all ways of combining ingredients; however, each has a specific meaning. The same goes for cut, chop, slice, dice, and mince. Teaching this vocabulary now and giving kids a chance to practice the skills can prepare them to someday make their own tasty holiday treats. More importantly, they’ll gain the confidence and some of the kitchen skills they’ll need to prepare nutritious foods on their own.