5 Tips for Baking with Kids

5 Tips for Baking with Kids

When we’re baking, we’re fully present. Cooking can help build confidence, benefit relaxation, boost creativity, and help us feel more connected—so all the more reason to involve the whole family! 

Whether making cupcakes for a school bake sale or teaching them Nonna’s famous recipe, baking with kids is a great chance to get in some quality time together. Here are our tips for making the most of this cherished activity. 

1. Teach safe & healthy habits

Start with a few ground rules—like handwashing, oven safety and knife safety when age-appropriate, or setting the expectation that they’ll always ask permission before cooking. 

Remember that kids are a little clumsier by nature, so opt for lightweight, non-breakable kitchenware when possible, like stainless steel mixing bowls instead of glass. 

This is also an opportunity to teach them about the impact that ingredients can have on their wellbeing. Choosing better-for-you baking mixes and sweeteners will help reinforce these healthy lessons! 

2. Engage their senses

Kids love new sensory experiences, so really let them explore. Encourage them to smell the vanilla or nibble the fresh spearmint so they can understand how the flavors work together in a recipe. Little ones will especially enjoy fun tactile steps like pressing their fingers into dough for thumbprint cookies and focaccia, rolling up cinnamon rolls, patting out pizza crust, or watching anything that goes “pop!” 

Big bonus? Picky eaters may be more likely to try new flavors if they’re introduced while baking together in a spirit of play. 

3. Make them feel included

Give kids context during the process by reading the recipe steps out loud to them as you go, or explaining why you fold the biscuit dough (to give the biscuits a fluffier rise!). 

Cooking should feel creative, so let your kids make fun decisions along the way—from the shape of the cookie cutter to the color of the food dye. 

Kids love things that are just for them, too—so a miniature oven mitt, apron, or kitchen tool never hurts. 

4. Lean into the mess 

Kids are messy. Baking is messy. While food safety and hygiene are of course always important, accept that there’s probably going to be loose flour and spilled milk. Just keep a dish towel or damp cloth on hand to clean up anything that could lead to someone slipping. 

Don’t forget to involve your kids in the cleanup, too! The baking isn’t over when the cake goes in the oven, so get them used to the idea that washing dishes is part of the process. Give them their own stool by the sink and encourage them to enjoy the big, bubbly suds. Just make sure little hands stay away from any soaking knives, food processor blades, scissors, and mandolines. 

5. Pass on the recipes

One of the best parts about baking with your kids is the memories created. You can keep these memories fresh and vital throughout their lives by gifting them the recipes you make together.

Each time you cook something special with each other, consider writing down the recipe and adding it to an index box or recipe book for them—or encourage them to keep their own! Include some favorites from your childhood, and together you’ll have established a core collection of family recipes to give them when they graduate from school or reach another milestone in life. 

We hope you enjoyed these fun tips for getting your kids in on the baking! Cooking for others is one of the most fundamental ways we can show our love, but cooking together—instilling a love of the kitchen and giving them a gift they’ll always remember—is even better.