I love that my four year old has recently discovered cooking and baking. It’s surprising to no one that her recent interest doesn’t just mean helping me prep meals but making her very OWN creations by HERSELF (all from scratch). I am trying hard to embrace her enthusiasm and view it as an opportunity to express her creativity. However, I am also trying to teach her lessons in the value of following directions and the importance of cleaning up after herself. It can also be a challenge when she demands a cooking project just as I’ve cleaned up the kitchen from dinner or as I’m scurrying around trying to prep breakfast and school lunches.
One thing I’ve found useful is to the let her pick the category of food – whether it’s a salad dressing, smoothies, brownies or muffins, I try to explain that some items you can make by taste and combining a few simple ingredients, others require a precise recipe.
When it comes to baking, I try to pick a simple recipe with not too many ingredients and one that can be mixed in 1-2 bowls. I’ll place all the ingredients on the counter ahead of time and walk through the recipe with her, letting her pick her favorite tasks. Eggs always get cracked in a separate bowl in case shells get in etc. This morning we tried this somewhat healthy looking Chocolate Chip Banana Muffin Recipe I replaced the walnuts with chia seeds and used oat milk instead of regular. I thought it was a mistake that there is no oil or butter but they turned out great. We had time to whip up a batch, get ready for school and enjoy the fruits of our labor all before getting out the door this morning!
Another game we started playing is Cooking Creations. The girls wanted to bake again the other night after dinner. I didn’t feel like dealing with a big mess so instead decided to let them make their own dessert creations. I said I was going to set out several ingredients (they had to keep their eyes closed while I prepped everything) and then set the timer for 4 min and let them go at it. This one involved a small scoop of ice cream and lots of fruit fresh fruit. I even got in on the game and created a Kombucha Ice Cream Float (tip: I highly recommend using Health-Ade’s new Cherry Berry Flavor)! We each had to name our dish then we took turns tasting and voting on our favorite part of everyones dish!