It’s never too early to teach your child kitchen skills, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. As a toddler, your child’s curiosity is starting to spike and they’re becoming more mobile and skillful. They likely want to get their hands dirty and help with baking, and as a parent, it’s your job to ensure it’s done safely.
Below, we look at 10 top tips for baking with your toddler so it can be a smooth (and fun) experience.
10 Let Them Choose The Treat
As a toddler, there will only be so many things your child can do on their own when baking. It’s wise to give them as much control as possible over things that are age-appropriate, like choosing what to bake.
To help your toddler be decisive, consider presenting them with 2 to 3 options, and asking them to choose. Your child will feel more excited and motivated about baking if they feel in control.
9 Go With A Simple Recipe
It’s best to choose a recipe that’s as simple as possible. Following the recipe is going to take more time when you’re doing it step-by-step with your toddler. You’ll be going slower to ensure your toddler has a chance to participate and understand what’s going on. Plus, with kids, clean-up is always going to take longer.
So, if the recipe is complex or has too many steps, it’ll be easy for both you and your toddler to get frustrated. That’s why simpler is better.
For inspiration, Play Like Mum suggests a handful of easy recipes you can do with your toddler, coconut cookies and a brownie cake.
8 Use Pre-Made Dough
One way to make your recipe even simpler is to use pre-made dough. Think of the Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough that you simply need to cut up and put on a baking tray. While this may not be exciting or challenging for you, opting for a pre-made option is more toddler-friendly and requires less preparation as well as clean-up, so don’t automatically dismiss it.
7 Shop For Ingredients Together
Another thing you can get your toddler involved with is shopping for ingredients. Write down a list of things you need, and let your child help you search through the grocery store, almost like a scavenger hunt. Allow them to put the item in your cart or basket, and help unload when you’re at the check-out.
6 Give Age-Appropriate Tasks
When it comes to actually baking the product, it is important to give your toddler age-appropriate tasks. While you want them to be as involved as possible, you also don’t want to give them anything above their skill level, or it can become a safety hazard.
Think of what’s okay for your child ahead of time. For a 2-year-old, they can help stir the batter with a spoon or dish the batter out onto the tray or pan. With a little assistance, they may be able to use a rolling pin or even cookie cutters, so long as they’re not sharp.
Remember – children should never be left unattended in the kitchen. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on your toddler, and never leave them in proximity to dangers, like boiling water or a hot oven.
To safely allow your toddler to reach the counter, consider investing in a standing stool (also called a learning tower). These devices have steps that let your child stand higher and safely reach the counter or sink. The sides can help brace your child, so there’s less risk of falling compared to if they were standing on a chair.
Purchasing one of these will not only allow your toddler to get in on baking, but they can easily participate in a wide range of activities.
4 Allow For Taste Testing
Another fun way to keep your child engaged in baking is to allow them to be your official taste tester. So long as there are no ingredients that could upset their stomach, let your kid lick the spoon or bowl. Or, let them taste the chocolate chips or other yummy ingredients before you put them in the batter.
3 Use Kid-Friendly Baking Supplies
Whenever possible, use baking supplies that are easier and safer for your child. For example, avoid cookie cutters with sharp edges and use silicone spoons for mixing that are lighter and more durable.
Even more, for steps your toddler can’t participate in (like putting the baked good in the oven), have them mimic what you’re doing with their toys, like if they have a kitchen play. This will allow your toddler to feel involved while also making sure they’re safe.
2 Decorate The Final Product
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about baking for children is decorating the final product. This is an easy, safe step that kids of all ages can go crazy with. Lay out decorating supplies in easily accessible containers for your toddler to grab from, and let them express their creativity.
1 Decide Who To Share With
Finally, it’s also possible to make baking into a lesson about kindness by encouraging your toddler to choose someone to share the baked goods with. This could be someone in your household, like another parent or sibling, or it could be someone else, like a teacher, classmate, or a family friend.
Doing this will help teach your child the value of acts of kindness, and they’ll feel good about doing something good for another person.
Sources: Play Like Mum, Pillsbury, Anna in the House, Busy Toddler,
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