If you ever felt that involving your children in culinary adventures is overwhelming, you’re not alone. The thought of managing spills, coordinating steps, and keeping safety issues in check results in most parents avoiding mini chefs altogether, or allowing them only to watch.
But you can’t ignore the look of disappointment when you shoo them away from the oven or slap their hands away from the icing. Do you feel the pang of guilt? If so, then it is time you let them in on the fun, in a controlled environment, under professional supervision, while you watch them bloom with awe.
Baking classes for kids present two significant benefits for you: you don’t have to worry, and you can enjoy the treats they baked.
For them, learning kid-friendly recipes will help their development on many levels, through an activity that makes learning fun.
Approaching Educational Content via Cake Batter
1. Math and precision
While you can get creative and not follow the recipe for veal piccata to the letter, baking is mostly an unforgiving area of cooking. [We know you’re salivating, so here’s the veal recipe]. In a cake, a cookie, bread, a pie, a mousse, all ingredients interact with precision and serve a purpose beyond taste. Measuring and weighing is crucial to achieving perfect results.
They will learn fractions, discover the metric system (wouldn’t trust imperial measures to achieve the most delicious macaron), perfect their counting abilities (counting eggs, or drops).
2. Planning and following instructions
What matters most when baking happens to be understanding the order in which things happen, and why some recipes have such strict rules. Of all culinary exercises, pastry teaches process and patience. Reading the recipe entirely before starting, preparing all wet and dry ingredients to avoid a messy station (and optimize time management), not cutting corners if you should whisk the eggs one at a time, watch the puffs rise WITHOUT ever opening the oven until the timer beeps. Granted, baking cream puffs may be part of an advanced group cooking curriculum, but nonetheless.
3. Adopting better food habits
Knowing how to cook from an early age may develop healthier habits throughout adult life. The knowledge paired with the experience of taste and choosing ingredients could result in better nutritional balance when it’s time to be on one’s own. At least, having solid basics could make the difference between buying ready-to-microwave packages and whipping up something fresher with what’s in the fridge.
Baking cakes will make them healthier, you ask? While we won’t recommend eating cake for every meal, however home-made it is, a sweet treat baked from scratch is still a better option than a mix. At least, they know what they’re eating (and can pronounce the ingredients).
4. Developing spatial and physical coordination
We’ve been talking about learning while having fun, but kids baking classes can be an excellent school for their physical development, as well.
Making balls out of dough, rolling out a pie crust, sifting flour. All essential baking skills that will help with bilateral coordination (needed for just about anything in life).
Spatial awareness is another area where working toward that perfect angel cake can help: preparing cake batter involves mixing ingredients in a bowl and then pouring into cakes pans or muffin cups will train eye-hand coordination.
Psychological benefits of baking classes for children
5. Social interaction and networking
Why cook/bake alone? We cook/bake for someone and with someone. Group cooking classes are a healthy setting to develop human and social skills. There’s something inherently generous about preparing food: you ultimately want to share what you made. Kids cooking workshops encourage them to be more participative, work in teams, and share victories (or mishaps) collegially. When we say the kitchen is the heart of the home, we are saying that anywhere you can cook and bake, you are experiencing love and are all the more inclined to love others.
6. Accomplishment, pride, and independence
Managing a recipe all the way through is worthy of a trophy for a chef-to-be. After all that hard work, pulling out a cake that is golden brown just-so is an incredible feeling (that would be true for adults too). Most of all, coming home with the buttery prize or offering Mom and Dad to make it together next weekend gets them all giddy. Here is something they learned in a non-academic way. Something they know because they experienced the process, with all their senses involved: touching, reading and seeing the magic happen, hearing the butter sing, tasting before and after, smelling warm pie, caramelized apples, vanilla bean, and so on.
7. The mess is ok, and so is cleaning it
Baking is messy. Flour dust ends up on the floor and shoes; egg whites fly out of the bowl when the electric mixer is on too high, icing runs down on the counter. Kids are not the exact image of tidy, nor should they be. Baking among other kids who will make just the same mess, under the indulgent eye of our cooking instructors is exhilarating. Only we’ll teach them to clean after themselves. A mess in the kitchen is chaos and presents safety hazards. They will learn that too, and that even the simplest cookie deserves the cleanest presentation.
If you don’t want to deal with the challenges kids in the kitchen imply, offer them the chance to flourish in an educational environment and help them discover the magic of baking. Imagine the valuable knowledge they receive from understanding how the cookies they love so much are made!