Kids in the Kitchen – Having Fun While Learning

February 4th, 2010 by Sandy Folsom

Spending quality time in the kitchen with your child can be fun and rewarding to both of you. Children love to work with their hands because they can see the results instantly and they are always very anxious to eat their results.

Whether I was in the kitchen with my children or now my grandchildren, I know I am creating fond memories of what becomes a permanent lesson in learning a life skill. Learning to bake is a happy experience.

Baking with MomSome of the skills I think of when I think, “Baking Time Together” is organization and planning. First, check your supplies to see if the necessary ingredients are available. Have your child make a list of what is needed if they are old enough to write, or have them draw pictures. It truly is your time together.

For a small rambunctious 5 year old, like my grandson, learning to listen will be a great accomplishment. Whether your child is 5 or 10, it is invaluable for them to know how important accuracy is when making the recipe. I tell them it is important to spoon the flour in the cup, then level with a spatula for an accurate measure. I take their hand and show them, so they have the opportunity to actually do it; NOT “Show & Tell.” I compare measuring brown sugar like packing sand to make a great sandcastle. Compliment frequently when a job is well done. Remind them how delicious those chocolate chip cookies will be.

A child learning fractions and multiplications may now understand why they need to know those applications when you let them apply it to baking. If the recipe says optional, ask for other suggestions for substitutes. It makes your child feel important, but give an honest answer, why it will or won’t work.

Set a timer, don’t open the oven door. Teaching a child patience is worth everything.

And finally the part no one necessarily enjoys, “the clean up.” Make it an adventure, make it fun, be creative in allowing them to clean up. It’s part of the process of baking. It makes a child understand the importance of finishing the entire job.

Plan a small party, something simple. It’s worth celebrating their accomplishments. Small girls love tea parties; older ones love impressing their friends. My grandson loved going to the park. We pretended we were going on a safari and needed to take our freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for survival. Don’t underestimate boys; they like to impress their friends too.

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. Why not create a special holiday treat with your children? A few easy-to-decorate ideas are Heart Highlights Brownies, Jumbo Heart-y Cupcakes, Hearts Desire Cupcakes, Going Buggy Over You Cupcakes, or Sparkling Romance Cupcakes.

We also have some delicious “any day” cookie recipes that can be ready in just minutes. A few projects to get the children involved include Kiddie Cookie Pops, Gooey Peanut Butter Bars or Graham Cracker Bars. If your child is over the age of 10, they might be interested in our Creative Cake Decorating for Kids class.

What fond memories do you have as a child in the kitchen?

Sandy Folsom Sandy is the Director of the The Wilton School. Sandy has been teaching professional cake decorating classes for over 25 years, 18 of those with Wilton. Internationally, she has shared her expertise with well-known professionals and enthusiastic students in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Taiwan. Folsom had the opportunity to work side by side for 10 years with Wesley Wilton, the youngest son of Dewey McKinley Wilton, founder of Wilton Industries. Sandy's students describe her as "patient, fun and a great instructor."

14 Replies

  1. Dana Calhoon says:

    This is excellent advice. I forwarded to all the young mothers I know. If you wait for a child to be “old” enough to cook, they often will no longer be interested. This has something for every (almost) age and attention span. Keep up the good work. The family who cooks together has lots of opportunity for communication!!!!

    • Sandy Folsom says:

      Children are always willing to communicate when they feel relaxed and that is just what you have offered them, “a relaxing area in which they will want to talk and ask questions”.

  2. Clarice Lopez says:

    My daughter is 13ms and she is already learning to help in the kitchen. I love it and judging the big smile on her face she loves it too.

  3. Michele says:

    This year I decided to make Valentine’s Day cookies for my children’s classes. I expected my 7 yr old daughter to help me but never did I expect my 5 yr old son to be the one helping the most! I beleive in cerating memories for our children and the kitchen is a good place to do so! Thanks for all your tips and help!

    • Sandy Folsom says:

      I too have noticed when we have classes at the school, the little boys were very proud of their accomplishments.

  4. Donna Fedok says:

    Hi there. My 13 year old son started cooking and baking with me at a very early age. His goal now is to be a pastry chef. We are currently taking Wilton classes for decorating. He loves it.

  5. These are wonderful ideas! I’ll definitely try them out in our home! :)

  6. Sandy Folsom says:

    I have seen such enthusiasm in our youngest student here at the school also. One was 13 & the other 11. Both have gone on to pursue careers in the culinary world. The one young lady made her 1st wedding cake at 15 and it was for her baby sister. She did an awesome job. Encourage, encourage!

  7. Sandy Folsom says:

    We are having a cake decorating class today at the school for 10+. Great place to be on a day off from school. Can’t wait to see their awesome cupcakes

  8. Luciana says:

    Hello, I’m Luciana and i’m 12 years old and i’m interested in this classes i live near the school south county Secundary school , and i have no idea where is wilton , and i also want to know when the classes start or if already started. please reply this.
    Thank you

  9. It’s never too early to get your children involve in the kitchen. It’s a great way catch their interest and develop their creativity.

  10. Rohan says:

    Very useful pointers on a topic.

    Rohan

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