4 Ways to Involve your Kids in Holiday Baking

4 Ways to Involve your Kids in Holiday Baking

What better way to create lasting memories during the holidays than baking scrumptious goodies with your kids! As a registered dietitian, I know that kids who are encouraged to experiment with food and ingredients are much more likely to develop confidence in the kitchen. Learning about food, where it comes from, and how to manipulate it into yummy meals and treats is a powerful way to strengthen and develop cooking and baking skills that will last a lifetime. Holiday baking is such a fun way to start this process with your little ones!

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a kiddo who doesn’t want to help pour, mix up and decorate delicious holiday themed delights that they get to eat after they are done! The only hard part is waiting for the goodies to bake!

1. Let them choose between 2-3 simple baking recipes

The holidays can be very busy for families, so when it comes to festive baking, the simpler the recipe, the better (especially if you have young kiddos running around the kitchen)! My favourite hack? Baking mixes! No shame here! In fact, mixes will likely save a lot of time (and possibly your sanity) when you are under a time crunch. Susgrainable has 3 delicious mixes in this Starter Bundle  are perfect for holiday baking. Here is how you could make the mixes more festive for the holidays:

If you already have favorite holiday baking recipes you usually make each year, get your kids involved by asking them to choose which recipe they want to make with you! List 2-3 simple recipes for them to choose between! Giving them the authority to choose helps them feel a sense of autonomy, which strengthen their initiative to continue to help in the kitchen! 

2. Set them up for success to help you:

First and foremost, it is important to ensure your little one is positioned at the right height to help with mixing and pouring.  If your child is too far down or too high up from the counter it not only complicates motor control of the spoons and spatulas, but also compromises their safety. Aim for the counter to be at around belly button height. There are a variety of different toddler kitchen helper stools or towers available. This Kids Kitchen Helper Step Stool  has a height adjustable standing platform and handrails to improve stability. (could be a good Christmas present idea?!)

Ask your child if they want to help measure, mix or pour. Give them options of what they can do as your sous-chef based on what is age appropriate. Check out My Top 3 Sanity-Saving Tips for Including Your Kids in The Kitchen (and a free printable!) for more detail on age appropriate tasks in the kitchen.

Before my kids help me with baking, they are always super excited to put on their little aprons. My son loves dressing up as the “chef” of the kitchen, you can see the pride radiating from him when he’s in his little chef outfit!  If you’re your kids don’t already have one, it is a great way to get them stoked about cooking in the kitchen. Check out second hand or consignment stores for some kid sized aprons (also a great Christmas gift idea!)

3. Involve them in discussion about the ingredients and baking process

Kids are like little sponges and love to learn about food, especially if they are holding it right in front of them! Depending on their age, you can go into describing the food and its function. You know your kiddo best and will be the expert at discerning what they are most interested in hearing about. Below are a few fun facts about typical baking ingredients that you can share with your little:

  • Eggs add protein that helps add structure to the cake. Egg yolks help ingredients like fat and water come together so that the cookie (insert other treat) is extra soft and sweet. Whipped egg whites help to create the air pockets between the crumbs of the cake making a light spongy texture. Sometimes, if someone can’t eat eggs, you can swap out chia seeds, which do the same thing!
  • Sugar is there to add sweetness, helps create a tender, moist crumb
  • Salt surprisingly does not make baked goods taste salty but rather brings out the sweetness and flavour! But only a little bit is needed in baking.
  • Butter helps to add moisture and rich melt in your mouth flavor to the baked good
  • Flour is usually the main ingredient in baked items. When mixed with the wet ingredients it develops glutenous strands that trap air bubbles and allows the cake puff up in the oven forming springy soft crumb.
  • Baking powder/baking soda are the leavening agents that create gas that becomes trapped inside the baked item as it cooks. Just a small amount of these ingredients is needed to help the cake rise!
  • Cocoa Powder is ground cocoa beans, an unsweetened chocolate product that adds delicious deep chocolatey flavor to a baked good.

 4. Educate your kids on food safety and sustainability

Holiday baking is most definitely fun and exciting, but it is also important for your kids to be aware of how to bake safely. Educate your children on the importance of keeping raw batter separate from cooked foods (and not eating raw batter!), washing hands and cleaning work surfaces thoroughly before and after use. Check out this Baking Food Safety  blog with your kiddo before diving into your holiday baking extravaganza!

It’s never too early to introduce sustainability as a concept and practice to your kids! If you value global environmental sustainability (especially for your kid’s future!) its not a bad idea to start talking about it as a family. From buying food local to limiting food waste at home, your kiddos will become more and more familiar with sustainable food practices that benefit the earth.

When it comes to holiday baking let your kids know the reason why it is a great idea to choose upcycled flours like Susgrainables Upcycled Barley Flour . Using reusable silicone cupcake liners and cookie sheet liners are a couple more examples of how to reduce waste while baking! Check out Sustainable Resolutions and Baking Practices for more ideas around sustainability and baking!

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