How to Bake with Kids Ages 3-5
Partytrick x Make Bake
Adding a sprinkle of tasty magic
Where else to create some long-lasting family bonding moments than in the kitchen? Kids love getting to eat sweet treats (does that ever change as we age…) so why not get them involved behind the kitchen counter? While it sounds fun in theory, we know it’s not always simple to have little ones help you bake. Meet Make Bake: Helping busy mamas make baking magic with Stickies, their one-of-kind edible stickers and decorating kits for cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. Here are their top tips for how to bake with kids ages 3-5 years old.
Top tips for baking with kids
Around the age of three, your little one will have the fine motor skills and ability to follow simple directions. This is a great time to introduce them to baking. Here are Make Bake’s tips for making sure you both have fun and still end up with something edible!
You measure, they scoop
Kids ages 3-5 love to scoop things from one bowl to another. That’s why sensory play is so great for kids this age! Rather than having your little one measure the ingredients, which takes too much precision for this age, Make Bake recommends you pre-measure your ingredients.
Put each pre-measured ingredient into a separate, smaller bowl. Then give your babe a variety of measuring spoons and cups to use and help them scoop and dump the ingredients from the smaller bowls into one big bowl. This way they have fun and you don’t have to worry about whether you actually got the accurate measure of ingredients.
Pro Tip: We love these magnetic measuring tools from OXO because they nest easily and kids will love to “unsnap” them as they work.
Keep them safe
If you have a step stool with a rail this is the safest way to let your preschooler work at the kitchen counter. They’ll appreciate the independence of you not hovering over them, and you can actually turn your back for a second without risking a fall!
If you don’t have a step stool with a rail, we recommend bringing the ingredients down to their level on a play table or having them sit at the dining table.
Kids this age love sounds and motion, so if your recipe calls for the use of an electric mixer or other powered appliance, have them stand where they can watch but not touch. Make Bake’s founder Kristina usually increases the speed slowly on her mixer because her 4-yo gets a kick out of watching it get faster and faster.
It goes without saying, but we’ll write it anyways: NEVER let a child this age near a hot oven or stove. If your toddler needs firm boundaries, put some painters tape on the floor to mark the “too hot to cross” line. Kristina’s son stands behind the line so he can see inside the oven from a very, very safe distance.
Pro Tip: One way to keep them involved in this stage is to have them help you put on your oven mitts!
Plus, you could always “play dress-up” and throw them some (very oversized) oven mitts on their little hands.
Remind them this isn’t their job to touch anything, but mitting them up ensures there won’t be any tears.
Make decorating easy
Decorating is the fun–and let’s be honest, messy part! If you’re making cupcakes, cakes, cookies, or other baked goods that need decorating, here are a few tips for letting your little one take the lead:
Use a tablecloth
If you have an old tablecloth, put it down before decorating. It’s so much easier to clean up sprinkles after the fact and it will keep them from rolling all. Over. The. Floor.
Work together to frost
Frosting your bakes: A piping bag is hard for kids this age to manage! So if you need to pipe buttercream, tell them you’re a puppet and they get to “drive you”. Ask them “do you want me to go up or down?” or “should I make swirls or dots?” as a way to engage them. Your 5-yo might be able to hold the bag with you but you’ll need to apply the pressure to get the frosting out. Embrace this prime moment to work together!
Something kids this age can easily decorate with are Stickies – Make Bake’s edible decorating stickers. Kids this age already love stickers and Stickies make it easy for them (and less messy) for you to get creative decorating! Founder Kristina created them because, “Even though I’m a professionally trained baker, I was never any good and piping characters that I knew my kids loved like unicorns and dinosaurs.”
Member Perk: Save on Make Bake when you’re a Partytrick member.
Hello, flawless unicorn and dino masterpieces. We’ll see if your kids will even want to eat the cupcakes after they decorate something so spectacular. We can’t wait to see the scrumptious works of art, and memories to last, when you try out these baking tips with your kids. Bon appetit!
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