Baking with young children can be quite a stressful activity in my experience, especially when there are several children and they are your own! But teaching kids how to bake will give them wonderful and very useful life skills that they will enjoy and treasure for a long time so it is a worthwhile thing to do with your kids. It can be enjoyable for everyone who’s involved too – I recommend teaching one child at a time if you have several and to do more complicated things with older children and just do the simplest things with preschoolers.
Let’s get into my tips for teaching kids how to bake!
Teach them proper kitchen hygiene
Every cooking or baking activity should start with a clean work space in the kitchen and clean hands. Teach your children the basics of food safety and kitchen hygiene and the essential steps to ensure that the baked goods you’re making are made in a safe and clean way.
Teach them to read a recipe properly
Before you dive in and start baking, you should always read the recipe from start to finish to make sure you have all the ingredients and to make sure that you use them in the right way and at the right time. This is an important part of baking so remind your kids to always do this before getting started.
Teach them to measure precisely
Baking is science so you do need to follow measurements and instructions in recipes carefully to achieve the desired result. There are times when you can experiment which we’ll look at below, but for most things that go into an oven, you need to know how to measure ingredients precisely. You and your children can use measuring spoons and measuring jugs and digital scales for this. Kids usually love this part of baking! Sometimes you need to convert measurements – 1 ml = 0.1 cl for example. Some measuring equipment will show both imperial and metric units and, if not, you can find a conversion calculator online.
Teach them when to experiment
Experimenting with baking and cooking is what turns these activities into a passion so do encourage your little ones to experiment with flavours and ingredients and when it is suitable to do this. Stick to a basic cookie recipe, but change up the chocolate chips for nuts and dried fruits, for example but don’t change the flour type or other vital ingredients. Add different ingredients to the toppings for your cupcakes but keep the cake recipe intact. As long as the scientific bits stay the same, the bakes should turn out well. You can usually swap ingredients with similar ingredients without ruining anything – lemon zest for lime zest, white chocolate for milk chocolate, apples for pears, etc… For desserts that are not baked in the oven, you can mix things up more – like with chilled cheesecakes without using eggs.
Let them explore their creativity
Decorating baked goods is the perfect opportunity to let your kids explore their creativity and create fun designs out of their cookies or cakes. You can have lots of fun decorating a birthday cake or gingerbread men for example and, with this part of baking, you don’t need to worry about being precise.
I'm a mum in my mid 30s with over 15 years of childcare experience working as a private nanny, babysitter and a few years as a nursery teacher. Now I've got my own family too! I love finding great products for mums and kids.