Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baking With Little Ones

I'm really not the baker in our home, or generally the cook. I don't mind either and rather enjoy cooking at times, but the kitchen in the home we have rented the last 23 mos is so outdated and "yucky" feeling to me that I've really steered clear. We rented from 15 hours away via the Internet (with only nine photos of the whole place) as we had almost no time to relocate. Despite this, I knew I wanted to start a tradition and bake lots of Christmas cookies with Tyler this year, so I've sucked it up! I plan to involve Ty in a lot more of our cooking and baking when we (hopefully!) move soon. He really, really enjoys it!

The following pictures show what Tyler's "jobs" were when baking this week. Not pictured is Tyler helping me measure out ingredients (it's hard to take photos while we do that!) and I just don't let him crack eggs. Raw egg just makes me too nervous right now! So far we've made Spritz Cookies and Brown Sugar Christmas Cookies and will make and decorate traditional cut-out cookies later in the week. My plan was to have Tyler help me give many of them away to friends and neighbors, but Ty has come down with a cold and I'm quite stuffy myself; I don't think anyone wants our potentially tainted cookies. I have no idea what we'll do with them all!

Pouring dry ingredients 


Pouring wet ingredients

Packing brown sugar

Scooping shortening from the measuring cup into the bowl

Pouring some yummy treats into the batter!

Though the batter was too thick for him to stir, it was interesting for him to feel how thick it had become.

Pushing the buttons on the cookie press

Decorating! I can't wait to let him decorate cut-out cookies soon!

So what has Tyler learned from baking cookies?

Following Instructions: I read aloud from the cook book which I kept in front of both of us, tracing my finger along as I read. I talked about how we had to read the recipe and follow the instructions to make our cookies, also showing him pictures of the end result we were working for.

Mathematics: We counted constantly as we poured a certain number of cups or spoonfuls and we also counted as we placed each cookie onto the baking sheets. I talked about each measurement, announcing what size cup or teaspoon we were filling. I also used smaller sizes that required us to use, for example, two  1/2 cups to make 1 cup or four 1/4 tsp to make1 tsp. and talked a bit about that as we went along.

Cooking Science: Tyler naturally learned that putting several ingredients together in a certain way can create something else. A yummy something else too!

Vocabulary: Ty added many more words to his vocabulary as well such as "flour", "teaspoon" and "mixer".

Relationship Building: As I quickly discovered, baking with kids is such a great bonding experience! Traditions like this are often carried on to the next generation and carry warm memories for life.

Confidence and Independence: If a child can go from a bunch of ingredients on the counter to something that the whole family can happily eat with as little help as possible, that feels really good! Tyler seems awfully proud after meals when we get to eat one of the delicious cookies he had such a hand in creating!

Linking with Deb at Living Montessori Now! and 1+1+1=1


  1. How fun! I love doing kitchen projects with my kids. We actually made homemade dog treats today!


  2. Hi Jen, I love your posts !
    And this one I love the most :)
    I love baking and my son is too !
    He is 18 months now.
    He is interested with the flour, sugar, dough, etc. And he loves to mix the dough with his hands, with some licking of course :) *you know what I mean?*

    When did Tyler start to help you with baking ?
    I will be very happy to bake with my son, only I'm waiting for him to reach that milestone. When he is helping you like Tyler did.

    Keep posting ideas Jen. Thanks !

  3. Thank you Susan! This is quite a rich activity to share with little ones! Ty didn't really start baking until a few months ago. He would help with tasks here and there in the kitchen, but because of my dislike for our currentl kitchen, I didn't have him do as much as I would have. Best of luck with your son; even if it's something as small as dumping flour into a bowl it's a big deal to them!

  4. Great post, Jen! I love your photos and descriptions of what Tyler learned from the baking experience! I still have awesome baking experiences with my kids (now my kids and kids-in-law)! Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

  5. I love this! I LOVE baking with my 34 month old. Like you said, it is great for relationship building. Hope you are both feeling better.