I have a rule that, if I’m baking for anyone else, then only I touch the cake(s)/cookies/cake pops. If it’s for family consumption, though, and it’s not midnight, I let my girls get involved. Both of them (six and two years old) enjoy it, which is what inspired me to add this page to my blog.
Several people have told me that they want to bake with their kids, but they never do because it’s too messy. I’m not going to lie to you – it can get really messy – but ultimately you can decide how much of a state you’re going to let them get your kitchen into. There are two rules:
- Know your kids: Some five-year-olds will follow instructions, neatly roll out pastry and carefully cut out 20 identical shapes. Other five-year-olds will spread the ingredients all over the place, use the pastry to make a spaceship and then wander off. Think about what kind of child you’re baking with – will they be interested in the whole process? If not, get them to join in only with the stuff that interests them, which brings us to Rule 2 … .
- Practice Damage Limitation: Whether we’re playing, painting or baking, I usually let my kids trash the place and then get them to help me clean up afterwards. However, if you don’t want your kitchen to look like a bombsite, consider weighing the ingredients out beforehand, or even mixing them together. Cover the table in a plastic cloth. Heck, if you have small children, cover the floor, too. Aprons are pretty useful accessories as well.
Ultimately, baking with kids should be fun. Give it a go, but if you find it too stressful, that’s OK. There are plenty of other fun things a parent can do with their little ones. However, if you’re going to take the plunge, check out the Cakes with Kids section on the right for some great ideas!