Do you have great memories of making cookies as a kid with your Mom or Grandmother? I grew up helping my Mom use the hand beater to make cakes and cookies. It was always the best reward to get to lick the beaters or help clean out the bowl! I want my kids to feel confident with making cakes, brownies and cookies. When kids learn how to bake in the kitchen, they learn some valuable life lessons.
7 Lessons Kids Learn in the Kitchen
Learn to Measure:
Cooking and Baking require you to actually use measuring cups and spoons. The kids have to learn the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. Cooking also gives them a chance to see what is bigger and how important it is to be precise.
Learn to Follow Directions:
The kids were making homemade chocolate chip cookies a few months ago. They didn’t follow the directions exactly. When they got to the finished product, something didn’t look right – they had forgotten the eggs. Their 2nd attempt turned out worse – they read the directions wrong. Instead of using 1 tsp of water, they used 1 cup. Definitely made a huge difference. Their 3rd attempt turned out perfect. They learned a great lesson about carefully reading the directions.
Learn the Importance of Cleaning up their Mess:
I don’t mind when the kids get to try out new things in the kitchen. But they know that if they don’t make an attempt to clean up their mess, then I’ll be very hesitant to let them try the next time. My son loves to try out new smoothie concoctions. He has discovered that a spoon of peanut butter, a handful of ice, several cups of milk, and a few scoops of chocolate powder make a great smoothie. He is learning that if he cleans up his mess that I’ll let him make another concoction another day.
Learn how to use kitchen gadgets:
Toaster, Hand Mixer, Blender and Can Opener, these are just a few of the kitchen gadgets that adults use on a regular basis. I am trying to teach my kids to operate these safely and without making a huge mess. True, my kids did spray butter cream icing all over the counter and walls but I think they now know how important it is to keep the hand mixer inside the bowl.
Think Outside the Traditional Box:
When kids follow new recipes, they learn to think outside the box. Typically for sugar cookies, you use eggs, butter, sugar and flour, but not mayonnaise. The girls followed a brand new recipe when they were making sugar cookies and discovered that using a non-traditional ingredient yielded some pretty tasty results.
My son had a great time learning to make chocolate waffles recently!
Give it your full Concentration:
Following a new recipe requires full concentration. I will never forget when I was close to their age that my friend and I decided to cook supper for the family. Our mashed potatoes earned themselves a place in family history. I don’t think they were actually mashed potatoes – more like potato soup or something else that wasn’t really edible. When you cook, you must concentrate and really focus on what you are doing.
Cooking is like many other things in life – It goes much smoother when you work together. I love watching the kids make, bake and decorate cookies. They have to compromise on who got to do the ‘fun’ parts of the cooking experience. Who stirsthe dough? Who gets to roll the balls? Coat them with sugar? What size cookie balls were perfect? Only by working together are they able to create the perfect cookies.
Do you enlist your kids help in the kitchen? I would love to hear your best tips and experiences!
This article appeared in the print edition of the Advocate Messenger, 3/8/15