Holiday Baking With Your Kids
The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends. While you are spending more time at home, take this opportunity to bake with your kids. It’s a great activity for bonding, the kids learn so much, and you get a fun treat to share at the end of it!
Baking Builds Math Skills. Baking with your child helps with their math and science skills. When they help dump 3 cups of flour into a bowl, they are counting. When they help measure 1/2 a cup of sugar, they are learning about parts of wholes and fractions. When they help you ensure that 1 cup of milk is lined up with the line on the measuring cup, they are learning about volume and capacity and the accuracy of measurement.
Baking Introduces Life Skills. Basically, it gets kids into the kitchen, creating something that they can enjoy! And in our house, the number one rule to baking or cooking is to wash your hands first – a good rule to live by, that helps instill the importance of cleanliness. Baking with your kids also helps build self-esteem by giving kids the skills they need to feed and look after themselves as they grow. It can also be a nice way for kids to show they are grateful for others as a gesture of friendliness by baking a batch of cookies for a neighbor, teacher or friend.
Baking Develops Fine Motor Skills. For young children, baking provides fun fine-motor practice. When holding a spoon, kids are developing and strengthening their pincer grasp (needed for writing). To have them pick up the spoon using the pincer grasp, try placing it on the counter with the ladle facing their body. When they flip the spoon, it will be in a pincer grasp! Also, when they are stirring, they are building hand-eye coordination. When they are holding the bowl so it doesn’t spin while they are stirring, they are learning to coordinate different movements at the same time.
Baking Promotes Social Skills. If you bake with a few kids, there’s a lot of social negotiation that has to occur. Who is going to do what? Whose turn is it? Both are critical social lessons that apply to all sorts of situations. Even if it’s just you and one child, you are still modelling turn-taking and waiting skills.
Baking Provides Fun Bonding Time With Your Child. If you keep things simple, and allow for a little mess, you should have a successful experience (or many!) that will be remembered and cherished by your child. I have very fond memories of baking cookies in the kitchen with my mom and want to pass along that special closeness when I’m baking with my boys.
Here are some simple recipes to try at home with your little ones:
Soft Holiday Cookies
–3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup softened butter
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.
- Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Decorate and/or frost as desired!
-3 cups flour
-2 teaspoons ground ginger
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
-¼ teaspoon salt
-¾ cup softened butter
-¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
-½ cup molasses
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla;mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread people shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.
‘Winter Wonderland’ Frozen Yogurt Bark
-2 cups plain Greek yogurt
-1/4 cup raw honey
-1/4 cup dry Goji berries (or any good dried fruit)
-1/4 cup natural chocolate chips
Mix the yogurt and honey in a bowl. Line a cutting board with parchment paper and spread a layer of the yogurt until it’s 1/2 inch in thickness. Top with fruits, chocolate, and crushed @drpopsnatural candies. Freeze for at least 3 hours, then break into bite sized pieces and serve!