Baking with Little Kids

I have always let my kids help me in baking. Part of this is the oft-cited belief that picky eaters are more likely to try what they’ve helped to create (demonstrably false in my household); part of it is just that I love to bake, and I love to please my children with unhealthy things.

Along the way, I’ve found that some projects lend themselves more easily to tiny helpers. Here are some easy starting points for even the smallest kid to take real ownership:

  • Cinnamon ornaments
  • Dog biscuits — I just look up a new recipe each time using things we’ve got in the pantry: bacon fat, peanut butter, oats, etc.
  • Granola 

None of these requires precise measurements, so the kids can be intimately involved in every step.

Another route is to prep the recipe during nap time or whenever and then give the kids the most fun jobs. I love to delegate the icing of cakes because I am terrible at it and want to blame the cake’s homeliness on cuteness, not my own incompetence, but maybe you don’t have my hangups and want something Instagram-worthy that you’ve iced yourself. Another route is to give your small helper the job of rolling cookies in sugar. Even kids who get easily squicked out by the texture of foods (one guess who I’m talking about here) enjoy rolling molasses spice cookies in demerara or chocolate crinkle cookies in powdered sugar.

Next-level stuff is the messier, trickier variety of recipes. You can let your toddlers help with cinnamon rolls, but you’re going to want to start the dough yourself (precise measurements) and be prepared for kitchen floors crunchy with brown sugar afterwards.

But I’ve never not regretted having even a six-year-old help me in making bread dough, with its precise measurements. Anyone can knead it, though, and Scout particularly delights in putting her “bread babies” down for a nap under a dishtowel.

How do you navigate kids in your kitchen?


One thought on “Baking with Little Kids

  1. G and I love baking!!! Muffins are our go to but I have learned to only have her stir dry ingredients otherwise she overstirs it all and they are dense. Also totally agree that helping in kitchen has not fixed picky eater issues haha!


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