Ever since my daughter started walking about, I found that keeping her occupied while I baked a cake or a batch of muffins was quite difficult. Since I didn’t like to plunk her in front of the television, I decided to let her help me out with the process of baking cakes and cookies. Here are some of my favorite tips on how to make baking an enjoyable activity with your toddler.
Make Baking a Fun Toddler Activity
Since baking hardly ever involves using the stove, it is easy to have your toddler help. Begin by telling your toddler what you’re baking. For instance, telling my daughter that we’ll be baking a batch of her favorite cookies usually helps to satisfy her curiosity. Invest in toddler-sized aprons and put them on before starting.
Keep talking to your toddler throughout the process, describing what is happening. “We’re greasing the cake tin or the cookie sheet so that nothing gets stuck,” “Let’s go get the eggs out of the fridge,” and so on. Ask your toddler to hand you measuring cups and spoons, or even the flour, cocoa, baking powder and other dry ingredients. Avoid having a toddler handle liquids or breakable items.
Another way to have fun baking with your toddler is to have him or her make the same thing that you are making, only smaller and, probably, messier. I have a miniature mixing bowl, wooden spoon and spatula for my daughter, as well as a small table for her to stand at while baking. When it is time to bake, I simply put all of the ingredients in highly reduced portions into her bowl and let her mix. The baked result may not be edible, but it keeps a toddler involved while you are free get on with the actual baking.
Creating a Safe Kitchen for Baking With Your Toddler
Before having a toddler help with baking, it is important to toddler-proof the kitchen. Keep all breakables and toxic items out of reach. Block or cover plug points that aren’t being used. Make sure that the preheated oven is out of a toddler’s reach. How to Child-Proof the Home for Toddlers is a good source for more tips.
Easy and Fun Things to Bake with a Preschooler
Cookies, brownies, crumbles and cakes are the easiest foods to bake with a toddler. Reserve pies and other, more complex baked desserts for weekends or holidays when there is someone to babysit.
Baking is a relaxing and enjoyable activity, and introducing toddlers to baking is a sure way of inculcating a love for it right from the start. So, instead of shutting your toddler out when you bake a cake, hand him an apron and a mixing bowl and get started.