If you are looking for an engaging family activity that can be done throughout the year, consider corralling your kids into the kitchen. When my sons were preschoolers, I introduced them to some easy recipes. As they grew older and their attention spans increased, they helped make more and more of our family’s favorite baked goodies. Now that they are adults, they are sharing these recipes with their wives and girlfriends. Ideally, this family tradition will continue for many generations to come.
I chose to incorporate a passion for food preparation because I realized that there were at least 8 benefits to family baking.
Quality Time: Working together in the kitchen can help parents bond with their children. These interactions are both fun and educational. All family members can create baked goods that will be shared later. These joyful memories will remain for a lifetime.
Kitchen Skills: Everyone should know the ins and outs of functioning in a kitchen. Parents need to spend time modeling appropriate safety skills for operating all appliances. By being active participants in the kitchen, children will become more aware of basic ingredients, food preparation and the importance of food.
Eliminating Preservatives & Artificial Ingredients: Most store bought baked items are loaded with unnatural ingredients. Preparing your own recipes, allows you to select ingredients and to avoid consuming unwanted and potentially harmful chemicals.
Measuring: Baking provides a hands-on approach to learning various forms of measurement. Children will learn how to measure solids and liquids and the vocabulary associated with the different types of measurements. By being involved in the process, they will develop a spatial understanding of different quantities.
Math: Baking requires an understanding of fractions, proportions, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. These skills can be learned and reinforced when following recipes.
Science: Some people consider baking an art while others consider it a science. Observing the physical and chemical processes associated with baking will give children a better appreciation of how science interacts with their everyday world.
Social Skills: Family time that revolves around baking includes many social skills. Working together as a team promotes cooperation and responsibility. Children oftentimes need practice following directions. Reading a recipe and following through is an excellent way to promote this skill. Baking also provides opportunities for creativity. Who doesn’t enjoy decorating a cupcake? Learning to take pride in a finished product and understanding the necessity to clean up one’s messes are two additional skills.
Family Tradition: Passing down favorite recipes and baking secrets can add to a family’s cohesiveness. The recipes can be brand-new or centuries old. Being able to start or extend an existing tradition can be a joyous family moment.
Decades after my first family baking encounter, I experience joy when I recall my family baking memories. My family has shared and will continue to share many delightful moments in the kitchen. My children learned a wide variety of skills while we bonded as a family. I encourage others to add family time in the kitchen. In the coming weeks, I will be posting recipes that are kid friendly.
Do you have a family baking experience you’d like to share?