Baking with kids can be fun, empowering and rather messy! But whilst it may take some perseverance, there are so many benefits that kids gain from the whole baking experience. Nutritionist, Uncle Tobys Ambassador and local Eastern Suburbs mum of three, Kathleen Alleaume shares four valuable skills children learn as they bake.
Children learn by touching, feeling, smelling, listening and tasting new ingredients – and the kitchen is an ideal place to entice every sense. If you’re baking ANZAC biscuits, for example, kids can roll the mixture in their hands, smell the biscuits baking, and taste the warm textures of the rolled oats from the oven. If you choose to use a traditional ANZAC biscuit recipe – like this one from Uncle Tobys that is over 100 years old – it’s also a great opportunity to show the kids how you commemorate the day and talk to them about the history behind the biscuit treat we all love.
Basic maths, literacy and science
From measuring flour to counting eggs and simple fractions, baking provides lots of mathematical opportunities to learn about quantities and measurements.
Reading a recipe with your child is a great way for them to boost their comprehension and vocabulary. Following steps in the method can help with listening skills and following instructions while you can let them write a shopping list for writing and spelling practice. The kitchen is also a mini science lab as they can watch all sorts of chemical reactions unfold while mixing, heating or cooling.
Better eating habits
Kids get to learn the importance of nutrition and the food groups, such as wholegrains for natural energy. Baking together may also help win over a picky eater by encouraging kids to try foods they otherwise might not have tried. Research shows that children engaged in tactile experiences, such as handling foods, have less food neophobia (food fear) and greater acceptance of eating a variety of foods.
Beyond practical and educational skills, baking together as a family can help to build self-esteem and contribute to kids’ emotional development as they build confidence in their abilities and are encouraged to celebrate their efforts.
Traditional ANZAC Biscuit Recipe
1 ¼ cups of plain flour, sifted
1 cup Uncle Tobys Traditional Oats
½ cup caster sugar
¾ cup desiccated coconut
150g unsalted butter, chopped
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1½ tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Place the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.
In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted.
Mix the bicarb soda with 1½ tablespoons boiling water and add to the golden syrup mixture. It will bubble whilst you are stirring together so remove from the heat.
Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly.
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.