A dusting of flour on every piece of fruit in the bowl. Milk slowly trickling down onto the ground from the worktop. Butter in the youngest child’s hair.
All sounds great?
No, of course it doesn’t but with a quick wipe it’s all fixed, all clean and back to normal, whatever that is in your house. The expression on your child’s face, as they carry a plate of freshly baked scones across the kitchen to show you what they have made…priceless.
Kids love praise, we all do in fact. And what more praise than the obvious enjoyment you show while scoffing down their latest creation.
Until I started baking with my own boys I never realised the benefits of letting them help in the kitchen. Firstly, it keeps them away from screens, which has to be a positive.
Once you ask the question, ‘Do you want to bake something?’, even the most usually unwilling helper turns into commis chef of the year at the notion of getting to make a mess, and not get told off for it.
The recipe comes out. They read what they need and the frantic race around the kitchen to find all the ingredients starts. Once everything is gathered and the mixing bowl is out its time to begin. Reading the recipe, weighing the ingredients, following the method, without them even realising it, all these things are providing a great education as they learn how to follow instructions, calculate weights and improve their fine motor skills by pouring, chopping and mixing.
Coming from a farming family we take a lot of things for granted, the boys know that butter is made from milk and that milk comes from a cow. I was shocked to realise that this isn’t the case with all kids and when I thought about it its hardly surprising, we buy milk in the shop, it’s in a carton and comes from the milk factory. We buy a packet of scones which come from the scone factory. Kids need to know where food comes from and the best way to do that is by making their own. They will soon realise that the field of cows they see from out their bedroom window, produce the milk they have on their cereal, provides the raw ingredients for the butter they put on their toast, the yogurt they bring in their lunchbox and the cheese they have in their sandwich.
By cooking and baking with your kids they will begin to question what is in their food and where it comes from. This in turn will lead to them wanting to bake and cook with ingredients they know, good simple seasonal ingredients and not an E number in sight.
When you are at home making dinner ask them to help. Even the fussiest of eaters are more likely to eat food they have made themselves. Talk about food, where it comes from, what you can make with it and most of all let them experiment. You never know, soon you could be sitting down, waiting to be served a dinner that you didn’t even have to cook yourself…