Kids in the Kitchen

What can toddlers learn from baking?

Toddler baking

How much fun is it getting stuck into some baking with your little one? One of the things I was most looking forward to about having children was being able to bake together; this is mainly because I love baking cakes (and eating them too), but also because it’s a wonderfully fun way to spend time together.

I started to get Rosalie involved in baking from a very young age, probably around 17 or 18 months old, and although she couldn’t do much then she’s gradually becoming more able, and it got me to thinking:

What is my toddler learning from all this baking?

Co-ordination

Any opportunity to carry out tasks that aid the development of hand-eye co-ordination are excellent for toddlers. Things like spooning, scooping, pouring, rolling, stirring and cutting out shapes are all great for little ones to try.

New tastes, smellsΒ & textures

Raw flour? Dry Oats? Not really things I’d want to eat, but Rosalie loves to sample each ingredient as it goes into a recipe. I could stop her (and would if we were baking for anyone outside the family), but I think it’s wonderful for her to experience new tastes, and to discover what the ingredients are like individually, and then as a whole at the end. I encourage her to smell things and to feel them too, baking is a whole world of sensory fun.

Toddler weighing ingredients

Numbers

Talking through the quantities and letting them help with the scales or measuring are all fantastic ways of exposing toddlers to numbers in an everyday context that will, over time, help with their recognition of digits and understanding of simple maths.

Language

It’s good to expose our children to a wide vocabulary, and reading from a recipe introduces new words and a different style to that of a normal story book. By following the recipe with my finger and carrying out the method Rosalie is learning to connect new words with their action/meaning.

Confidence

Feeling like you’ve achieved something can be a real confidence boost can’t it? Well that’s also true for toddlers – when they make something from scratch, see it through to the end, and get to taste the fruits of their labour, their confidence grows.

Toddler scooping flour

Time

This is a very hard concept for toddlers to understand because it is so abstract, but by setting a timer and then having to wait for it to go off, watching the numbers tick down, they may begin to get a sense of time.

Communication

Baking with a toddler requires good communication. As you communicate what you want them to do, they are learning skills in communication themselves and it also gives you an opportunity to practice different ways of explaining things. I try to be extra patient with Rosalie and take things really slowly when we’re baking together so that she has time to interpret my instructions and nobody gets stressed.

When you think about it like this, cooking and baking provide so many wonderful opportunities for learning, as well as being a great bonding experience.

Do you bake with your little ones? Did you have any idea how much they can learn from a simple cooking session?

7 ways your toddler is learning when you bake together

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Hannah Tasker
    March 24, 2016 at 11:36 am

    We love baking here too, I love this post, its a brilliant reminder off all the positives. I didnt bake much when I was younger so its one thing I am passionate about doing with my little ones. My cousins all baked with my aunt, and they are so confident and creative with food as adults, it definitley a skill for life πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Jess Eliot
    March 29, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks Hannah! It's amazing how many skills cooking can teach, and you're right, definitely skills for life xx

  • Reply
    Jenny Ripatti-Taylor
    April 2, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I love this and I am constantly baking with my two kiddos. They have such a great time as well as learning so much in the process as you said. I get the memories of it too. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. Sorry for delayed commenting we were away on holiday. #sharewithme

  • Reply
    Jess Eliot
    April 2, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks Jenny! Cooking and baking is a really wonderful way to spend time with our children, I'm glad your two enjoy it πŸ™‚ Hope you had a lovely time away xx

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