Whilst you may not always have the time to do so, there are many good reasons to bake with your children when you do get the chance. Here are 15 of them.
1. It's fun, and happy childhood memories stay with people for life.
2. Baking with your children will bring you together, enable you to talk about what you are doing and create a positive, shared experience.
3. Developing an interest in and passion for baking at an early age is likely to last for life.
4. Seeing other people eating something they have made can help to improve a child's self-esteem and will provide a real sense of achievement.
5. One of the reasons children love to bake is that they get to use all of their senses: seeing, touching, tasting, feeling, smelling and listening.
6. Baking encourages children to be creative and experiment, enabling them to learn through discovery.
7. Your children will improve their understanding of food, how it is made and what goes into a recipe, and it allows you to talk about where the ingredients came from.
8. Seeing how food changes with mixing, applying heat, adding liquid, etc. will help to improve an understanding of science.
9. Thinking skills will be developed through seeing cause and effect relationships in food preparation, e.g. what happens if you add too much or not enough flour, water, etc.
10. Baking helps children to develop their motor skills and can help with their concentration and listening skills.
11. Following recipes helps with reading and arithmetic and improves an understanding of weights and measures.
12. When children bake in groups, e.g. as an activity at a birthday party, they take turns, solve problems and work together, all of which helps to develop their social skills.
13. Allowing your children to take the lead in this activity will bestow a sense of responsibility on them whilst secure in the knowledge that you are there to support and guide them.
14. If your children are engaged in a constructive and creative activity like baking, it means they aren't passively watching television.
15. And finally, let's not forget that in addition to the benefits of the activity itself, you will hopefully get the added bonus of a delicious end-product.
Although this blog is primarily focussed on the benefits derived by children undertaking baking as an activity, it is just as much fun and just as rewarding for adults too.
Don't worry about the mess and focus on the value and enjoyment you and your children will get from baking.
And remember to keep it simple - kids have short attention spans and nothing is more doomed to failure than being over-ambitious at the beginning. For little ones, make some biscuit dough and let them cut it out in shapes. For other kids, let them make the dough and perhaps decide how to flavour it, and for older kids, how about letting them choose their favourite meal and then making it with them.