Baking is an enjoyable activity for adults and children alike – you’ll struggle to find anything else that you can do from the comfort of your own home that comes close.
But baking isn’t just great fun – it’s also educational! Whether reading and following recipe directions, counting out or weighing ingredients, or just getting your hands dirty in the mixing bowl – it’s an activity that can help to develop your little one’s essential skills, being a great way to give them a head start.
In this post, we take a closer look at these benefits. We’ve covered some of the more obvious, along with the not-so-obvious – giving you the perfect excuse to roll your sleeves up and get baking with your child.
6 benefits and reasons to get your kids baking
1. It’s a great, all-round activity for building child development skills
There aren’t too many activities that offer more than baking when it comes to child development skills.
While we don’t give it much thought as adults – baking requires a load of essential skills. Whisking, mixing, rolling, and kneading – these all require a range of developmental skills to do, giving your kid the perfect opportunity to practice and sharpen theirs.
Some of the child development skills that baking is excellent for:
Fine motor skills: Baking is excellent for developing fine motor skills – with all the holding, grabbing, and moving around all the different ingredients and kitchenware.
Bilateral coordination: There are plenty of opportunities for your little one to use both their hands in the kitchen – whether rolling, flattening, shaping dough, or sifting flour – these activities are great for developing good bilateral coordination skills.
Hand-eye coordination: Whether spooning batter, frosting cakes, or pouring ingredients into measuring jugs or cake mix into a dinosaur baking pan or silicone dinosaur mold – there are loads of ways in which baking can help sharpen your child’s hand-eye coordination.
Hand strengthening: Baking is also great for building hand strength, with activities like mixing batter, squeezing dough, using dinosaur cookie cutters, or just sprinkling cheese onto homemade pizza, all beneficial to strengthening little hands.
2. It puts your kids counting skills to good use
Baking involved a lot of math – whether it’s counting eggs (the regular kind, not dinosaur eggs), weighing flour, or counting eggs – it offers plenty of opportunities for your little one to practice and gain confidence in their basic maths skills.
This can give them a head start – not just in the kitchen, but also the classroom – giving them an excellent foundational understanding of basic maths concepts that can translate into success at school.
It also introduces maths concepts unique to the kitchen, specifically all the different measurements – like the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, cups, and half-cups. It’s also great for putting more general measurements to use, like ounces and pounds, that they are otherwise unlikely to encounter in their day-to-day activities.
3. Helps with language and communication skills, enriching vocabulary
If you’re a baker, you’re probably used to baking solo – however, when baking with your kids, this often-solo pursuit is transformed into a team effort – making it a great way to up your little one’s communication and language skills.
Get this, do that – working as a team will help increase your child’s confidence in speaking, which will give them a significant advantage at school and promotes greater self-esteem. And just like with adults, the more confident kids are, the better they’ll do – setting them on their way down a great path in life.
There are plenty of baking-specific terms that your little one isn’t going to be familiar with, as they rarely come up in conversation outside of the kitchen. Scald, shred, soft, or simmer – your child will come away with a much larger vocabulary after a couple of baking sessions.
4. Great for introducing kids to basic scientific concepts
Baking can give hands-on experience and introduce a range of basic scientific concepts to your little one, turning your kitchen into a real-life science experiment that will kick-start a passion for all things culinary that can last a lifetime.
In recipes that include baking soda, you could explain how it works to make bread and cookies rise. Or you could discuss temperature and how we measure it. There are ample opportunities when baking to introduce basic science to your little one.
You could even do a few of your own kitchen experiments. There are plenty of resources online that provide instructions on a range of mini-experiments you can do with ingredients found around the home – make a baking soda and vinegar volcano, make some rock candy, or even create your own invisible ink.
5. It will make your child a better, more confident reader
If your little one is on their way to learning to read, baking can be a great activity to help speed things along, giving them ample opportunity to practice and improve their reading skills. Whether it’s reading labels on ingredients or recipes in cookbooks, baking is an excellent, fun activity to help your child up their reading game.
And it’s not just reading – it’s also useful for developing comprehension – as much of baking is following a set of instructions. Learning to follow instructions is a great skill to acquire early and one that will help them later on in life – especially once they enter the grown-up world and, like the rest of us, spend their weekends struggling with flat-pack furniture assembly instructions.
There are also many great kids baking books on the market – features lots of pictures, large fonts, and super simple recipes, which will help maximize this benefit from your family bake sessions.
6. Baking is a great way to bond with your little one
Perhaps the best benefit of baking – it’s fun! If you’re an avid baker yourself, there isn’t much better than spending the afternoon with your kid whipping up a batch of your favorite cookies or cupcakes. Easy to make, tasty, and fun for all the family – this activity will keep everyone in your home entertained, well-fed, and closer as a family.
And it’s not just the baking – decorating is half the fun, being a great activity in and of itself. Icing, sprinkles – even dinosaur cupcake toppers – except for the washing up, every aspect of baking is tremendous fun.
Some say that the family that bakes together stays together – and we couldn’t agree more. It’s a great, inexpensive way to have fun and bond with the family at home, costing no more than a few bucks (once you’ve got all the kit), and perfect, especially on wet and windy days, when going outside isn’t an option.
Well, there you have it – our list of 6 benefits to baking with your kids. Easy to do and fun for all the family, baking is a fantastic activity that will bring your family closer together and provide your little ones with a range of benefits.
While its messy nature means the post-baking clean-up isn’t quite as fun, it’s certainly worth it – as this activity can help with child development like no other. Whether counting, communicating, reading, or just getting them into science – baking has a lot to offer.
So, what are you waiting for? Go grab yourself some butter, flour and eggs, and butter – and get baking!