Children benefit from baking in many ways. When you spend a little time making pizza from scratch or decorating cupcakes it's not only memories you're building. You're also building confidence and creativity, teaching them science, laying down some basic maths and reading skills, giving them a sense of control & accomplishment, enhancing vocabulary, fostering social & important life skills and providing them with an important introduction to health & safety.
I like to break down the benefits of baking into seven points.
Develop fine motor skills - cutting, rolling, kneading, dipping.
Hand-eye co-ordination - pouring, weighing, transferring.
Develop and strengthen larger muscles.
Using senses - tastes, textures, smells and sounds.
Reading and Language Development
Become familiar with the names of ingredients, food groups, equipment and baking terminology.
Describing tastes and textures can enrich vocabulary.
Listening to instructions and developing conversational skills.
Using reading skills to follow a recipe/read labels. An awareness that printed word has meaning.
Sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings with increasing fluency.
Reading a recipe from top to bottom is a linear process which reinforces the basic literacy rule.
Creative and Aesthetic Development
Talking about colours, textures, smells and tastes - bitter, sweet, salty.
Appreciate the process of creating something from scratch.
Making something delicious for others to try.
Encourages a more adventurous palate.
Learning through discovery - aesthetically exploring.
Kindles creativity and ignites the imagination.
Experiences in Science and Technology
Identifying baking equipment.
Discussing healthy eating - what is good for us and what should be eaten in moderation.
Through various processes - heating, cooling, beating, whipping - food changes and becomes ready to eat.
Questioning and experimenting.
How properties change - adding liquid to dry.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Taking part in a group activity, turn taking and learning to co-operate.
Builds confidence to try new things and enhances self-esteem.
Opportunity to discuss kitchen safety and hygiene.
Developing concentration, self-control and decision making skills.
Knowledge of themselves and other cultures.
Baking is an important life skill and it's FUN!
Knowledge and Appreciation of the Environment
Appreciate a wider variety of food and where it comes from - eggs, milk, wheat.
Learn to use positional words - in, over, up and down.
Learn to use directional words - "Push the rolling pin backwards and forwards".
Learning the importance of accurate measuring and weighing.
Understanding the abstract concept of time - "The cakes need to bake for 20 minutes".
Making predictions and comparisons.
Early concepts of size, quantity and fractions.
Extending mathematical vocabulary - heavy, light, full, empty.
Comparing, counting and classifying.
Who would have thought baking some cakes could be so educational and rewarding?
Love and sticky fingers, Hazel X