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Top tips for baking with kids

Getting kids involved in the kitchen from a young age has so many benefits. Baking together is an opportunity to create memories and bond. There is the chance to be creative, and of course to learn something new along the way. As you bake or cook together, kids are exposed to new foods, flavours and textures; learning about cooking and nutrition, where food comes from and basic cooking and baking techniques that will be with them for life. Then of course there are plenty of chances to practise reading and maths skills as they follow a recipe and measure out ingredients- and even a bit of science as they watch how a cake rises in the oven or chocolate melts in a hot pan.

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The key thing to keeping it stress-free is not to put too much pressure on them or you. Children are far more likely to fall in love with cooking and making their own food from scratch if you make it fun. Things will inevitably take longer than if you were doing it yourself, there will be more mess and the finished product may not look ‘quite’ like the recipe intended. But the important thing is that you are spending time together doing something creative and learning new skills, with the added bonus of a delicious result to enjoy at the end that they will be proud to share with family and friends. 

So here are our tips for how, with a bit of careful planning (and a sprinkling of patience), baking with your kids can be a fun, safe and successful activity that everyone can enjoy- including you! We’ve also included a few tried and tested child-friendly baking recipes to get you started. 

Get them involved

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Try to involve kids at every stage. Ask them to help you choose a recipe. With young children, give them the choice of two or three pre-selected recipes that  you know are suitable for their age and include plenty of activities that they can either be guided through, or do themselves. Keep things simple and start with a basic recipe that’s quick to make and allows them to really get stuck in. 

Measuring out all the ingredients first so they are clearly laid out and ready to go is a good idea with very young children, to help keep their interest, while older children can be shown how to safely use the oven, scales or stand mixer and then given more responsibility. Talk kids through the ingredients you are using or the various processes as you go along, encouraging them to touch, smell and taste (as long as it’s safe to do so), and get creative with toppings and decorations. 

Always supervise

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Accidents can happen in the kitchen. Never leave young children unsupervised while you’re baking together and take the time to explain the dangers of hot ovens, pans on the hob, sharp knives and kitchen equipment with moving parts. 

Put some clear rules in place regarding how to move safely around the kitchen and what can and can’t be touched. Children should also understand that some uncooked foods and mixtures cannot be eaten, however tempting it is to lick the spoon. 
 

Clean as you go

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Accept from the outset that things will get messy, and that for children that will all be part of the fun. For the most part it’s best just to take a deep breath and fully embrace it!  But there are ways you can limit the damage. Give them an apron, put them in clothes you don’t mind getting splattered and tie back long hair. Cover the floor around where they’re working with a plastic sheet, oilcloth tablecloth or even a shower curtain to catch any spills, and get kids to use a spoon to scoop out dry ingredients when measuring, rather than tipping straight from the bag. Using a stand mixer comes into its own when it comes to minimising mess, with a mixing bowl that stays in place, and with many of our models such as the Titanium Chef Baker coming with built-in weighing scales, so little ones can measure ingredients straight into the bowl.  

It’s also never too early to teach kids the importance of practising basic hygiene in the kitchen, so encourage them to wash their hands before they start and whenever handling food, and to keep surfaces clear. Most kids love a bit of washing up too- although this may end up adding to the mess!
 

Find tasks for everyone

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Read through the recipe together and plan who is going to do which job- someone to pour in the flour, someone else to add the sugar, and so on. Younger children will invariably have shorter attention spans so if necessary pick quick tasks that they can do with minimal guidance- mixing, pouring, measuring out ingredients, lining the tray with cupcake cases, decorating or cutting out shapes in the dough, and then they can always go off and play in between jobs. 

Set each child up with their own work station. Younger kids may need a stool or set up at the kitchen table so that everything is in easy reach and they can see what they’re doing when pouring or mixing.  Consider investing in some child-sized utensils which will be much easier for little hands to use. 
 

Try some of our fun bakes at home

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Here are some simple recipes that are perfect for making with kids of any age:

Critter crudités: A fun way to introduce a range of different fruit and veg, younger children will love making these colourful creatures. The perfect activity for play dates and rainy afternoons.

Hundreds & Thousands Sponge Cake: This classic child-friendly cake is simple to make and decorate and will undoubtedly be a hit at every birthday party. 

Rustic Pizza: With this pizza recipe, kids can not only help with making the dough and adding their own toppings, but they’ll happily sample the results fresh from the oven! 

Cranberry and raisin flapjacks:  This really straightforward recipe is a great one to get children involved with measuring out ingredients and scoring the flapjack bars. It’s also a healthy alternative for school lunchboxes! 

Vanilla Cupcakes (kenwoodworld.com): This vanilla cupcake recipe will definitely become a household favourite. The batter is simple to make and you can adapt the recipe to suit different occasions - letting the kids get creative with different icing and toppings every time.

​​​​​​​You can find more delicious recipe ideas for baking and cooking with the kids here