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Baking with Youth - Part 2

Now baking with your young children can be a lot of fun and a challenge at the same time, but I really enjoy baking with older children/youth. It is a great confidence builder when they are able to finish something with success and baking can be easy to create success in.

Let Them Take the Wheel

I like to let them do as much of it by themselves as possible. The adult just supervises ( I know, this is very hard for some of us control freaks!). Here are some ideas you can do:

  • Let them read the recipe and tell you what to do. i.e “Mom, can you please go get the sugar?” (This reminds me of the “how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich” write up I had to do in 6th grade and then my teacher followed our instructions. It was pretty hilarious to watch your teacher try spreading the PB on the bread with his hand, because we forgot to add the bit about using a knife!) You can make this as fun as you want!

    Have your youth do it all by his/herself and then ask you when they need help. Make sure they gather all the ingredients, so they know where each item is located and what it looks like. The best thing about this, is that if they are old enough, they will be making cookies all by themselves soon enough because you know they can do it!

  • Make sure they clean up and put everything away properly. Teach them that part of the baking experience is cleaning up. It’s no fun if the kitchen is left a mess for mom (or aunt) to clean up.

Math is Fun

Once they can add it opens up another avenue of fun! You can use baking to teach them how to add and do fractions. My children are too young to do math right now, but I do have younger sisters and many nieces that I get to bake with every now and then that are old enough to do all sorts of math with.

I’ll admit, at first they see this as torture because I make them use their brain while we bake. But I love math and I love to incorporate it into anything. I will have them figure out how many 1/3 cups they will need to add 2 cups of flour to the mix or how many teaspoons they will need to add 1 tablespoon of water. For added fun, I’ll switch the teaspoons into milliliters (ml). For instance, “you need 30 ml of water. How many teaspoons do you need to add?” (there are 5 ml per teaspoon). But, I only do this when the ml are already written on the measuring spoons and cups so they do not get too frustrated.

By teaching them math in the kitchen you are teaching them skills for later on. I had a job in my early 20’s where I needed to be able to convert ml into teaspoons or tablespoons for medication or formula mixtures. It was very helpful to know! Plus, I do find it easier when I am changing the recipe into 1 ½ batch and there is some odd measurement to change it into ml to get an accurate measurement. To me it is easier than fractions, especially when you are limited on your measuring cups because you only have a 1/3 cup, ½ cup and a full cup due to one or two of the others getting lost in a move!

Learning Life Skills

By taking the time to teach your youth how to bake and cook you are teaching them how to be self sufficient. If they can understand basic instructions and terms from recipes, they will be able to eat when they are on their own! When I was a teenager, I mentioned in Part 1 that I loved baking out of our Hershey cookbook. Well, my friend and I decided to make a cake at her house with this book. I left the room, leaving my friend to follow the instructions and add the next ingredient. When I came back I found my friend with her hands in the chocolate batter. When I asked her where we were at in the recipe, she told me, “where it says to mix the batter by hand for 1 ½ minutes.” We had a good laugh once she realized her mistake!

Compliment, Praise, Be Positive

Make sure you compliment. Tell them how great they are doing and point out the positives. They are going to make mistakes and they are going to make you laugh, but the most important thing is to have them to leave the experience feeling good about it!

There is something satisfying about making food that everyone else loves. I find great enjoyment in watching my nieces’ faces light up as they watch their family gobble up the cookies they made because they taste great! Share this satisfaction with the youth in your life and just enjoy the process and many avenues of learning.

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I bake with my young kids, I get out all the measuring cups and have them look at the recipe, then match the number (usually it's a fraction) in front of an ingredient to the number on the measuring cup. Then I let them compare that measuring cup to a whole cup and ask which is smaller/bigger. Even my preschooler can do this!



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