Baking With ToddlersEmily Malone
As our rainy season approaches here in Seattle, I’m thinking more and more about ways I can prepare to manage a toddler and a newborn indoors for many months. Cullen is actually a very independent little guy, so he does well if he has the right toys and things to occupy himself. For times when I’ll be feeding or tending to the new baby, I’m hoping he’ll have fun with a new play kitchen, a magnet wall I’m making, and a growing collection of new story books. But I’m also looking for things we can do together that are relatively easy to manage, and still challenge him to learn new skills and concepts.
Last week we had our first rainy day of the season, and I put some of my ideas to the test. First up: baking! I pulled our handy step stool up to the counter and told Cullen he was allowed to climb it and stand there very carefully. I put the stand mixer right in front of him, and had all of our ingredients already laid out and ready to go right in front of us, so I didn’t have to make trips back and forth to the pantry.
I handed him a bunch of measuring cups and let him go to work, with plenty of help of course. He is really into scooping and dumping things right now, whether that’s water at the water table, sand in a sand box, mulch chips in the backyard or playground, or beans in our indoor bean box. He loved scooping the flour into the measuring cups and dumping it into the bowl. The only challenge we had was that he wanted to scoop so much that he was not content to just measure and dump. He wanted to take all the flours and mixings back OUT of the bowl and dump them onto the floor and cutting board. He’ll get there, and a little flour mess never hurt anyone.
His favorite part was actually spooning the batter into the muffin tins. Talk about a mess, but it was so fun to watch him delight in doing it. Even though it was a huge mess, sitting down to eat blueberry banana muffins that we made together tasted like such a sweet, sweet reward at the end of it. Can’t wait to do a lot more baking with my little buddies this coming fall!