Baking with a Toddler

Abi has been really interested in what goes on in the kitchen. I bake a lot, but especially during this time of year. I thought I would share some tips that I’ve learned over the past month or so of having Abi helping out in the kitchen.

1. Lots of patience (don’t do this on a bad day)
2. Extra set of all your tools, or a child’s baking set (my Mom got us one for $5 at Bed Bath and Beyond, and it is awesome)
3. High mess tolerance
4. Cookie dough made while tot is sleeping, or a little bit extra of all your ingredients
5. Safety can opener if cans are needed (leaves no sharp edges)
6. A recipe that is very, very easy and hard to mess up in case you get distracted
7. Play dough in case you really don’t feel like actually baking that day (so far, Abi finds this an acceptable substitute)
8. A tall step stool or learning tower (we have a vintage step stool that Abi now thinks is hers)

How to:
1. Have child wash hands at the sink (you too!). They love the soap bubbles so this alone will take 5 minutes.
2. Get out all ingredients, or if you were really with it, your pre-made dough
3. At Abi’s age (nearly 2) I have found the best thing is to give her a little of everything in her own bowl as I use it, or give her her own little bit of dough. As her motor skills develop she will be able to help measure ingredients too.
4. 30 minutes later, you might be done, or might not, but your kid will be over it and your floor will be covered in flour.
5. Fill sink with soapy water (buh-bules!) and let child wash dishes (sorta) while you finish up.
6. Mop your floor and give child a bath if needed. Don’t forget there is probably something baking burning in the oven.
Fun! Or, bypass all of the above and let child use their baking tools with play dough while standing up at the counter. Gives a pretty good substitute for those no-patience days.


7 responses to “Baking with a Toddler

  1. So true! Alas, I’m not quite as organized as you, so I actually let my toddler mix the real ingredients together. I measure them all out beforehand and then let him dump and stir. he does pretty good, we only lost a few teaspoons of dry ingredients last time. 🙂

  2. Oh yeah, and if you’re going to be putting craisins in, make sure you have an extra bowl for the toddler to snack on or you may lose half of your pre-measured ones to snacking!

  3. You could get the same messy result by letting me bake in your kitchen…let’s see, two children or children-like people, flour, water…oh yeah sounds like a mess to me!!! However, it truly isn’t burnt unless the smoke detector goes off for an hour or the fire department shows up.

  4. I’ve been thinking that I am going to pre-make the dough and then have Tana help me use the cookie cutters. I have also be contemplating homemade playdough to use as a distraction, but that might end up being made to go under the Christmas tree or in her stocking. A little bake set is a great idea though.

  5. If you know ahead of time you are going to have a no-patience day, just keep a roll of store brand cinnamon rolls or cookie dough on hand. If using the oven, set a timer or two, or use one of those portable timers.

    I always used the play-dough distraction until the child could actually help. Oh, yes, they love to “help” do the dishes or floor, anything with bubbles, until they are big enough to actually do it (guess I shouldn’t mention that).

    Love the pictures!

  6. abi, i actually prefer a bit of extra butter in my choco-chip cookies, and perhaps a smidge fewer choco-chips (believe it or not). a bit of extra brown sugar is certainly welcome too. i shall be waiting by my mailbox. thanks abi. ~m

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