My three year old loves anything to do with cooking. He has a little set of plates and pretend food but he's also more than happy to play with a pot and wooden spoon to make me pretend birthday cakes.
As much as make believe is lots of fun, getting stuck in and doing the real thing is best of all. Getting preschool age children involved in baking can be a little daunting and your kitchen can look like a whirl wind has passed through it by the time you've finished. The worst part is if they get bored halfway through.
After a few experiences, I think we have a great process in place to keep it engaging and fun for everyone. Especially now that my 15 month old wants to get involved too.
Here are my top tips and I'd love to know if you have any good ideas too.
Wear an apron or wipe clean all in one bib to protect clothes. It also means that at the end of baking you can simply take it off, wash hands and kids are free to go off and play.
Choose a simple recipe that they can be fully involved in. Standing watching a grown up do most of the stages isn't much fun. Throw it all in a bowl and mix are the easiest sort of recipes.
Choose a recipe that doesn't take long to bake/cook and then everyone can enjoy the results soon after.
Measure out ingredients in advance so that kids can just tip each ingredient into the bowl.
Read the recipe in advance and if it requires softened butter, take this out of the fridge in advance.
If you have more than one child involved, either have a bowl each or share one large bowl with each child having their own spoon for mixing.
Keep it fun. Don't worry about everything having to look pretty. If too many sprinkles or added to decorate or the icing is slapped over in an uneven fashion, it really doesn't matter. It's the taking part that counts.
Get kids involved in the washing up and cleaning. Lots of bubbles and wiping down surfaces can be fun too and it's a great lesson to instill in your kids. I'm hoping this will translate over to tidying up toys after playing with them but that can still be a bit of a battle.
If you're looking for some great recipes to try with your kids then click here.