Let Them Grow: Baking with Toddlers Offers Sensory Learning & Creative-Free Play

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Baking With Toddlers

Some of my favorite time with children is spent baking. Children love it, and if I am not too performance driven, I love every minute, too! Baking with toddlers can also be a disaster, if you are not prepared or try to make extravagant things with too many steps. Baking should be fun. Baking can also be a math lesson, an art lesson, and a culinary experience. It is a time to bond and a time to create. I have two favorite things to make with toddlers, especially around the holidays: bread and apple crisp, two easy baking projects. Here are the recipes! 

Bread Loaves

Making bread for others is such a great gesture of love and kindness. It truly starts the winter off right. During this season we love to bake and send gifts of bake good home to share.  These is a simple, amazing no-knead recipe.

Step 1

Mix 1.5 cups warm (but not hot) water with 1.5 teaspoon of yeast

Step 2 

Mix 3 cups of flour with 1.5 teaspoon of salt

  • Mix it all together until the dough is stringy
  • Let rise at least two hours, preferably overnight
  • Put on parchment paper and let rest (do not knead)
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Wrap the little loves in napkins and or little bags and enjoy them, or give them out.

It is helpful to pre-measure all of your ingredients so your child can help you pour and mix without waiting. Have a small amount of water and dough set aside for them to experiment and play with. Allow older children a little extra flour, a rolling pin, cookie cutter, a knife, or scissors to roll and cut the dough. Let them roll, pat, and make a loaf of their own. This is a popular no-knead recipe that can be perfected easily to make artesian bread. But its’ more about the play and the activity and the making and baking for others.

Apple Crisps 

Apple crisp is an easy, toddler friendly recipe. Allow your child to help with all aspects of this activity.  This can be a sensory explosion!

What you’ll need:

  • A small dish of flour
  • 2-3 apples, pre-sliced
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup oats
  • Pie tin or mini tins

What you’ll do:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix apples well with sugar, dash of flour, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Scoop them into pie tins
  • Cube small bits of butter and have your child squish it all together with oatmeal and brown sugar
  • Sprinkle topping over your seasoned apple
    Bake for 35 minutes

Your child will love the sensory play of this activity. Cubed butter and oatmeal provide fun textures to explore.  Give your child access only to baking goods that are safe. Avoid access to large amounts of salt or cinnamon these can be dangerous to children. Let them mix, spoon, cut, and create a pie of their own. Beginning to help in the kitchen is an exciting time for children, their attention may not always stay of the task, so be prepared to offer alternatives.

Extras 

  • Extra flour and water to mix together
  • A cheese knife or toddler knife
  • A spoon
  • A fork
  • A small pie tin to scoop in
  • Chopsticks
  • Spatula
  • Rolling Pin

Happy Baking!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programming for children. She revels in hand-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA.

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