The holidays are looming, your to-do list is growing by the day. Now is the perfect time to gather your children for some holiday memory making ’round the kitchen mixer! Of course, baking with kids naturally takes a bit longer and makes quite a bit more mess.
When you’re trying to tackle that mile-long to do list it can be easy to think, “I could get this done so much faster alone!” For the over-scheduled mamas of the world, I’m here to share my top 5 tips for making your baking adventures with kids high on fun, low on mess so you’re more likely to do it again!
1. Sort ingredients by color: For this holiday cookie recipe we planned to use decorative chocolate candies. While I was gathering all our ingredients for the dough I asked my 5 year old to sort the candies by color into separate bowls. It bought me some time to prepare, kept her busy, and completely engaged with her task.
2. Divide ingredients in half: When baking with 2 kids it can be tricky to make sure everyone feels like they are contributing. When a recipe calls for an even quantity of an ingredient (2 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar) use a measuring cup 1/2 size down and let each child add half the ingredient (1 cup flour for each to add, 1/2 cup sugar x 2 kids, etc.)
3. Easy pouring: “What can I do?!” both my 5 & 2 year old chime in. I shudder to think of broken eggshells in the cookie dough but my girls just can’t resist handling the eggs. I crack the eggs into a separate cup, one at a time. I let the girls take turns dumping the egg into the batter before I crack the next one into the cup.
4. Be ready for the downtime: Being patient for the cookies in the oven can be extremely trying for the little ones. They are so excited to get to the decorating stage but there are 15 minutes of baking and another 10 of cooling before they can start. Rather than breaking up the baking flow, continue the fun with the Melissa & Doug Slice & Bake Cookie Set.
I had the girls mimic our original steps:
– Separate the pretend cookie decorations by color into 2 real prep bowls
– Take turns decorating half the cookie pan.
They enjoyed interacting with this toy and pretending to eat their treats, which gave me plenty of time to rinse down our dishes and mop up the counter so the kitchen was ready for the next step.
5. Rimmed trays save floors!: Give each child a rimmed tray of their own for decorating cookies. All the sprinkles and candies spill over onto the tray and not your floor! You can easily dump the excess into the sink when everyone is done.