Parenting is a craft. Similarly, baking with my boys has become something of a craft as well because no baked good leaves the kitchen without first becoming a work of art. Of course the boys love the measuring, pouring, and mixing involved in creating a tasty treat but the best part (taste testing and beater licking aside) is decorating. An array of food colours, sprinkles, candy, fancy muffin cups, and toppers equal the ultimate craft.
Baking is actually one of my go-to activities when we are bored and stuck inside. It’s great bonding time; it keeps us busy; it is fun, and we get to eat the fruits of our labour. Nine times out of ten it is a hit. We have created sun cupcakes, blue shark cupcakes, rice Krispy candy canes, brownies and more.
Another great thing with this activity is the learning components. For example it is great for teaching hygiene: clean cooking surfaces are required, clean cooking equipment, handwashing, and if something goes in the mouth it doesn’t go back in the bowl… Furthermore, a comfort in the kitchen develops with knowledge of safety while using hot surfaces, certain foods, and knives and so on. A respect for food preparation is learned as well. It is also a great activity for developing and exploring the senses: taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight.
Another bonus is the science involved when the cake batter cooks into a spongy cake or the water and gelatin sets. There is math with adding ingredients and measuring. It is great for communication, reading, and following instructions. However, the best part is that nobody really thinks about these things as a strenuous learning activity because it is baking and not homework! Finally, there is a sense of achievement which boosts confidence.
As with any mess, and baking with my boys is messy, cleanup is important and the boys play an important role in the cleanup. Therefore it helps to build that idea of “you make a mess, you clean it up.” Cleanup is part of cooking.
What else do children gain from baking?
- Healthy eating (more with cooking then baking perhaps)
- Motor skills
- Hand-eye co-ordination
- Strengthening muscles in hands
- Spatial perception and problem solving (i.e. cutting cook dough with cutters, trying to get as many cookies out of the rolled dough as possible.)
- Interest in food
Google’s definition of “craft” as a verb is “exercise skill in making (something).” When we are talking about baking and cooking with children as a craft it has a double meaning. First, exercising skill in making a dish or treat. Second, it is a way to exercise skill in making and raising a child: A craft.
By Shari Marshall – 2017