My daughter loves to bake. My husband has figured out that if he wants cookies, he just needs to mention it to Roo, and she will ask me if she can help me make chocolate chip cookies. I am a total sucker for baking with her, so I agree. Plus, the end result is fresh cookies, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
In an effort to have something available for quick breakfast besides cereal, I asked her to help me make muffins a couple days ago. She, of course, agreed. Muffins are really exciting for her because with muffins, come cupcake liners. Mommy likes cupcake liners because they cut down on the mess and the girl gets to work on some fine motor skills. The girl loves cupcake liners because they are pretty and you can count them as they go into the muffin tin.
She counted out the cupcake liners as she put them in the tin, “One, two. . . nine, ten!” Then I would add, “Eleven, twelve!” I got a serious look. “No, there are only ten.” I tried explaining, counting, re-explaining, that there were twelve spots. She got a little irritated that I just didn’t understand what she was saying. “No, Mom. There are ten!” I tried one more time to explain, even took her hand and counted spot by spot to show her there were twelve. Then I got the answer that explained it all, “No, Mom. It’s a muffin TEN! Not a muffin TWELVE.”
The girl has a point. I’m considering calling this pan a muffin twelve instead of a muffin tin until she learns about homophones.
The muffins turned out okay. Making the muffins was more fun than eating them.
Continue reading for the skills addressed in baking. . .
I’m going to put my OT hat on for a minute and quickly run through the skills you can address while baking with children.
– Fine motor skills- Kids use the intrinsic muscles inside their hands (the ones that control minute movements) to separate cupcake liners
-Wrist rotation- Dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl
-Fine motor strength- We use an ice cream scoop to put batter into the cupcake liners, so she had to really squeeze the scooper to release (or plop, as we scientifically call it) the batter
-Counting- Counting the number of scoops of an ingredient (use a 1/4 teaspoon for an ingredient that calls for 1 teaspoon so they have to count to 4, for example), recognizing numbers in a recipe, counting the number of chocolate chips that fell on the counter (and then eating them. . . )
-Safety awareness- Cooking with your kids is one big teachable moment. As the adult, be constantly aware of dangers in the kitchen and use that opportunity to teach them what is safe and not safe. Use very clear language (Only adults use knives, only mommy or daddy can turn the mixer on, never touch the stove, etc.)
-Following directions- Following directions from the recipe and following instructions from the adult
-Sensory awareness- Baking is filled with textures, smells, and tastes. Let your kid get some oil on her hand and see how it feels, or (if she’s old enough to reasonably do it) let her crack an egg into a separate bowl. Talk about the smells or how the ingredient feels.
-Trying new foods- Baking something together may give the kid a sense of ownership about a food and she might be more likely to try it. I’m not guaranteeing anything, but even if she won’t eat it, at least she’s gotten to work on a lot of great skills!
Disclaimer: I am an occupational therapist licensed in the state of Indiana. Always consult with your child’s occupational therapist about any OT related activities. My posts are never meant to diagnose or treat, they are simply intended to provide fun, easy ways to facilitate development at home.