Our top tips for making baking with children a fun and enjoyable activity for everyone involved!
Baking delicious and healthy treats is one of the best activities for keeping children occupied in the afternoon or at weekends. By baking with an adult, children can learn important numerical skills, fine motor skills, basic food hygiene and safety in the kitchen. By making their own food they will also begin to develop an increased awareness of nutrition and appreciating the process of making things from scratch.
We’re also really excited about the return of The Great British Bake Off this year so we’ve asked a couple of GBBO veterans for their advice on baking with children and here’s what they said:
Nancy Birtwhistle, GBBO Winner 2014:
Start off simple: “I always start them on flapjack(s) and simple cakes that they can decorate themselves”
We really agree with this advice, sometimes baking can seem overwhelmingly difficult especially when you see the Italian meringue, genoise sponge and honeycomb that they whip up so effortlessly on the Great British Bake Off. Children will appreciate simpler recipes that they can easily help or make themselves such as these fairy cakes, chocolate chip cookies or flapjacks.
Manon Lagrève, GBBO Contestant 2018:
Relax and enjoy it: “Do not worry about the mess”
This is a really important tip, resign yourself to the fact that it will be messy but that is part of the fun for children and you can always clean up afterwards!
Like Nancy, Manon recommends choosing bakes with only one element such as brownies, pound cake etc. as they’re quick and the children won’t lose interest, plus you can go crazy with the decorations afterwards!
More tips from the ASN team:
Read the recipe first. Before you throw yourself headfirst into your baking activities make sure you thoroughly read through the recipe. This allows you to get any equipment and ingredients ready that you made need and work out which steps are “adult” (e.g. handling hot trays or sharp knives) and which ones the children can help out with (e.g. measuring out ingredients, mixing ingredients or cutting out biscuits).
Adapt to your children’s ages. Depending on how old your children are, you may prefer to measure out the ingredients beforehand, line the baking trays etc. How much you prefer depends very much on the children you are baking with and how experienced they are with baking. Make sure the recipe you choose is also age appropriate.
Don’t expect GBBO-worthy results! If it’s your first foray into baking with children, don’t expect your bakes to come out looking picture-perfect. Remember, it’s all about encouraging children to learn new things, having fun and eating some tasty treats at the end.