A Little Mess, a Lot of Learning: 12 Reasons Why You Should Bake with Kids
As a vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free cookie company, we're all about promoting healthy, conscious eating while savoring the deliciousness of life. But what if we told you that sometimes it's okay to embrace a little mess and add a dash of chaos to your kitchen? We’ll be the first to tell you that we’ve learned a thing or two about having kids in the kitchen (after all, the matriarch of our company, Susy, has 16 grandchildren!). That's right – today we’re talking about the magic that happens when you bake with your kids.
Building Skills They'll Use for Life
Sure, baking with kids might seem daunting at first. There's the inevitable flour cloud that settles over your kitchen like a gentle snowfall, the sticky dough clinging to tiny hands that get tracked across the kitchen counters and appliances, and the chocolate chips that somehow manage to find their way into every corner of the room. But beneath the mess lies an incredible opportunity for your children to learn skills they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
#1 Encourage more responsibility (and help with clean up!)
Baking teaches kids the importance of responsibility. After the fun is done and the cookies are out of the oven, it's time to clean up. By involving them in the process of cleaning, you're showing them that every action has consequences and that they are accountable for their messes. Plus, learning to clean up spills and wash dishes is a valuable life skill that will serve them well in the future.
#2 Boost reading and math skills
Baking is also a sneaky way to encourage reading and math skills. Recipes are like treasure maps, guiding young bakers through a series of steps and measurements. Reading the recipe out loud and measuring ingredients provides opportunities for kids to practice their reading comprehension and basic math skills for any level of learning.
#3 Teach patience and persistence
Baking teaches patience and the value of persistence. We can tell you from firsthand experience that not everything turns out perfectly on the first try, and that's okay. When a batch of cookies doesn't turn out as expected, it's a chance to talk to your kids about problem-solving, adjusting recipes, and trying again.
💡 Good to Know: If you want to make adjustments to a failed recipe, it’s important to only change one thing at a time or else you won’t be able to pinpoint the problem.
Teaching Safe Kitchen and Food Handling Techniques
Safety is paramount in the kitchen, especially when children are involved. Baking together offers a unique platform to introduce and reinforce safe kitchen and food handling techniques.
#4 Teach proper hand washing techniques
Proper hand washing is a lesson that can’t be emphasized enough. Before you start baking, make sure your kids know the importance of washing their hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of germs.
#5 Demonstrate proper tool and equipment safety
Baking provides an opportunity to teach kids about using kitchen tools safely. Show them how to properly handle knives, peelers, and other equipment to avoid accidents in the future.
#6 Educate about food allergies and dietary restrictions
If your family follows a vegan, gluten-free, or soy-free diet, baking together offers a natural way to educate your kids about food allergies and dietary restrictions. Discuss the reasons behind your choices and explain how certain ingredients can affect people's health.
Introducing Picky Eaters to New Foods
We've all been there – trying to convince a picky eater to try something new can feel like an uphill battle you’re destined to lose. Thankfully, baking can actually be a secret weapon in your quest to expand your child's palate.
#7 Inspire hands-on exploration
When kids are involved in the baking process, they can become curious about the ingredients they're using (and putting into their bodies). Use this as an opportunity to introduce them to new fruits, nuts, and seeds that they might not have encountered before.
#8 Encourage ownership and curiosity
When kids have a hand in making something, they're more likely to be curious about it and willing to taste it. Ask them questions like, "What do you think this will taste like?" or "How do you think these ingredients come together to create the final product?"
#9 Celebrate the small wins
Even if your child is hesitant to try the finished product, celebrate the small wins along the way. Did they taste the batter? High-five! Did they try a sprinkle of a new ingredient? That's progress! We’re big on celebrating the wins no matter how big or small they may be.
Bonding and Creating Long-Lasting Memories
In our fast-paced world, finding meaningful ways to connect with our children can be a challenge. Baking together offers a perfect opportunity to bond and create memories that will last a lifetime.
#10 Enjoy some quality time
Baking requires time and attention, making it a perfect avenue for quality bonding. Put away your devices, turn on some music, and immerse yourselves in the baking process.
#11 Gain more shared experiences
Sharing the joy of baking creates a special connection. The smell of freshly baked cookies, the excitement of watching them rise in the oven – these are experiences that you and your children will cherish forever.
#12 Enjoy a boost of laughter and joy
Baking often comes with its fair share of giggles, oops moments, and unexpected surprises. Embrace the laughter and enjoy the journey together. After all, some of the best memories are made in the midst of a little chaos.
Back to You
Whether you're whipping up a batch of cookies or experimenting with your favorite family recipes, baking with your kids is about more than just the end result. It's about building skills, creating connections, and nourishing both their bodies and souls. We hope that this post inspired you to embrace the mess, savor the learning, and indulge in the sweetness of the moment. Happy baking!