Snow Day: Ideas For
Teaching Kids To Bake
With winter weather bearing down on us, it's only a matter of time before a snow day is called and the kids unexpectedly have a day off from school. It's like an 8-hour recess, but without teachers monitoring them and giving them activities to complete. For one day, that's all up to you. But spending time in the kitchen keeps them busy and, if you choose the right recipe, they have a sweet treat after playing in the snow. Here are 5 ideas for teaching kids to bake.
An Exercise In Patience
Baking takes a bit of patience because, unlike regular cooking, it's an exact science. Sometimes we want to throw everything in a bowl, hope for the best and plan for the worst. But to make sure your kids are getting everything right, employ the culinary practice of "mise en place." That's a French term that literally means "put in place." In the kitchen, it just means to have everything measured separately in different containers before you start mixing everything together. This is what they do on cooking shows when all the ingredients are put in tiny bowls for the host to throw together for the audience. It keeps the ingredients organized to prevent mistakes and gives bakers a little more confidence everything will turn out right.
You don't have to make everything from scratch -- in fact, using boxed cakes and doughs might be a good place to start when you're baking with kids. However, if you want to make treats from scratch, try very simple recipes with as few ingredients as possible. Shortbread is a good starter recipe because it only requires butter, flour, salt, and sugar. Shortbread also happens to be very difficult to mess up.
Measure Of Success
For older kids, try working in a quick bread for a math lesson. Quick breads are easy -- they're breads like zucchini bread, banana bread, or blueberry muffins. They are very easy to make from scratch, but the measuring has to be precise. Kids can practice their multiplication, adding, and subtracting skills by doubling the recipe or cutting it in half. It's a fun way to keep their brains sharp on their day off from school.
Baking and any time spent in the kitchen has to be done around rules. It's a good way to reinforce classroom instructions for washing your hands, paying attention, and following instructions. Though it's a tough lesson to learn (especially if that means burnt cookies), you are allowed to let them make mistakes -- mistakes help us grow and learn. With a sweet outcome, it's a lesson they won't mind practicing.
A Snowy Crafternoon
Younger kids might not be ready for the measuring and mixing part of baking; in that case, let them decorate their confections! Basic sugar cookies can be their canvas for a snow day. You can mix together the dough and let them pick out cookie cutters with fun shapes so they can practice the art of creating outlines. With you responsible for baking and cooling the cookies, put some colored frosting and sprinkles in their hands to make the cookies magical. If all goes well, you may be able to include their cookie decorating ideas in your holiday gift baskets for next year.
The Lakeside Collection has ideas and products for just about any occasion! Whether you're trying to come up with activities to keep the kids baking on a snow day or you're planning a baby shower and you need appropriate snacks to go alongside the diaper cake, shop Lakeside for great products at discount prices.