Tips and recipes for baking with kids of all ages

Cooking Jul 07, 2020

Kids love baking, from the fun of mixing the batter to the magic of watching dough rise. The transformative action of baking is a great way for kids to explore their creativity and test independence while learning important math and science skills.

6 skills kids can learn from baking

If your learner has a budding passion for baking, their interest will yield more than sweet treats. They’ll also have the opportunity to build important skills related to:

  1. Math: Young learners can practice counting and identifying shapes, while more advanced learners can explore fractions, volume, and area.
  2. Science: Young learners can engage their senses and develop observation skills. Teens can dive into the chemical reactions that make baked goods rise.
  3. Independence: Children can do a surprising amount of work on their own in the kitchen—if we let them. Giving your learner age-appropriate responsibilities in the kitchen will build a sense of independence and confidence, as well as teach them to take kitchen safety seriously.
  4. Motor skills: Baking is a fun way for kids to develop fine motor skills. Younger kids can start with stirring, rolling, and squeezing; older kids can practice their fine motor skills with precision tasks.
  5. Culture and history: Making and sharing food together is a great way for children of all ages to learn about other cultures and deepen their connection to their own culture.
  6. Creativity: Kids love to express their creativity through decorating baked goods, and older kids might even want to try inventing new recipes.

Outschool offers live online classes to help learners of all ages explore their passion for baking.

Motor skills and sensory exploration (ages 3–6)

Baking with young learners (ages 3–6) is all about getting comfortable in the kitchen and encouraging sensory play. Invite learners in this age range to be your baking assistant. They’ll benefit most from:

  • Making a schedule that includes time for handwashing, reading the recipe together, prepping ingredients, eating and sharing, and cleaning up.
  • Introducing kitchen and ingredient vocabulary.
  • Exploring all five senses by smelling spices, noticing shapes and colors, hearing cooking sounds, using their hands to play with dough, and—of course—tasting the finished product.
  • Developing motor skills by stirring the batter and shaping balls of cookie dough.
  • Counting the number of cookies on a sheet.
  • Practicing social skills including collaboration and taking turns.
  • Baking foods that fit their hands, like mini muffins.

Live online baking classes for ages 3–6

Outschool offers fun, affordable live online baking classes tailored to learners ages 3–6.

Baking and math (ages 7–12)

Older kids are ready to take more of an active role in the kitchen, where they can practice their math and reading skills. Kids ages 7–12 will enjoy:

  • Introducing basic kitchen tools and safety procedures.
  • Reading kid-friendly recipes aloud at each step of the way.
  • Measuring liquid and dry ingredients on their own to make chocolate chip cookies.
  • Working with fractions, from recognizing fractions in 3rd grade to adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions in 4th and 5th grade.
  • Expressing themselves creatively by decorating cupcakes.
  • Practicing language skills by making a list of “tasting words” they can use to describe how foods taste.
  • Gaining confidence with using the stove by making super easy Rice Krispie treats or chocolate sauce.

Live online baking classes for ages 7–12

Outschool offers fun, affordable live online baking classes tailored to learners ages 7–12.

Baking and science (ages 13–18)

All learners can experience the transformation of baking, but teens and tweens can really use their science skills to dive into the hows and whys. Teens will also appreciate:

  • The chemistry behind the acid-base reaction that makes quick breads and muffins rise.
  • The hard work and satisfaction of kneading dough to make bagels.
  • The biology of yeast, a living organism used to make cinnamon rolls.
  • Opportunities to show off their baking skills to friends and family by baking a holiday pie.
  • The freedom to change recipes to suit their preferences and dietary needs, by swapping the blueberries in blueberry muffins for raspberries, or using substitutions to make recipes gluten- or dairy-free.

Live online baking classes for ages 13–18

Outschool offers fun, affordable live online baking classes tailored to learners ages 13–18.

3 Tips for baking with kids of all ages

Baking together isn’t just fun for kids; it can be a rewarding experience for adults as well. Here’s how to get the most out of your time together.

  1. Show them the recipe. Don’t just tell kids what to do in the kitchen; let them read the recipe. For younger learners, use pictorial recipes and walk through them together. Once kids are reading on their own, find an age-appropriate cookbook and ask them to read the steps aloud to you. Reading directions together before baking and as you begin each new step will let your learner practice following directions.
  2. Ask questions. Encourage kids to share and think for themselves by asking lots of questions, such as: What do you think will happen to the cookies when we put them in the oven: Will they get bigger or smaller? Is this food similar to another food that we eat at home? What do these ingredients smell like? What does this food taste like? If you baked this again, would you change anything?
  3. Perfection isn’t the goal. Remind kids (and yourself!) that it’s okay to make a mess, or if a baked good doesn’t turn out the way you thought. Let kids know that baking is an experiment, and even professional bakers practice recipes many times before getting them right. When baking together, choose a time when you are feeling relaxed so that there won’t be any stress if things go “wrong.”

About Outschool

Outschool is a marketplace of live online classes for kids (ages 3-18). Learners can safely learn and connect with teachers over live video chat. From math and music to filmmaking, coding, writing, and baking, the small-group online format supports all learner types at any level. Classes start at $10.

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