Guest blogger Grace Patton of Camp Patton shares five tips on how to let kids help in the kitchen, as they made baby's 1st birthday cake!
I’ve recently noticed that as soon as my husband or I offer to let one of our older kids (ages 3 and 2) “help” us do anything, they perk right up and come scurrying over to be of assistance. This is why I love Melissa & Doug toys – they incorporate play into real life activities and help prepare the kids to take on more responsibilities around the house as their age and skill level dictates.
The kids have “helped” me in the kitchen before, but I am trying to slow down and dedicate some solid time to letting them help with baking projects from start to finish. Our youngest just turned one, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to let the kids make him a cake for his birthday. All we were missing was the Melissa & Doug Stainless Steel Pots & Pans play set!
Prepped the chefs:
I let them know as soon as they woke up that we had a special task at hand! I used this as an incentive for good behavior leading up to the Big Baking Extravaganza. They were both thrilled at the prospect of both getting to help AND making something for their little brother, which was really sweet.
Prepped the kitchen:
Before I called the helpers into the kitchen, I got as many things ready as I could. I softened the butter, measured out several ingredients and greased the cake pan.
I realized we were out of white sugar early in the morning, but the day was exceptionally cold and I didn’t want to take the kids out. I figured out substitutions (apple sauce and brown sugar) before we got started.
The two-year-old still dumped triple the amount of “banilla” into the batter and the three-year-old dropped half the bag of chocolate chips onto the floor in the process of pouring them into the bowl, but it was all part of the fun. If they had just been passing through the kitchen while I was making the cake and done these things, I might’ve gone into mom freak out mode! I was happy that they were happily helping and didn’t let it bother me.
Let them problem solve:
I realized once the cake came out of the oven and we had all done our part to haphazardly cover it in frosting – that we had no birthday candles. I let Julia (3) come up with a worthy substitute and she decided on some fresh flowers.
Fine by me!
Praise, praise, praise:
I was sure to let the kids know how much Theo (birthday boy) would love his cake. They absolutely loved singing to him and watching him smash and eat it later that night.