Parents all over the world are feeling the strain of homeschooling. Yes, you love your kids, yes you want them to learn as much as possible but why oh why are they sooooo demanding?
Why do they not come with an inbuilt volume switch? How can someone you love so much also make you want to pull your hair out? Lockdown is teaching many of us that we’re not as patient as we actually thought.
Most parents have developed a newfound respect for teachers and teaching assistants, and others have come up with ways to help them learn (and hopefully stay quiet) away from screens, work sheets and books.
As a professional baker and huge lover of anything cake or biscuit-related, I started The Baking Buns – a way to teach my two boys Yash and Nihaal, about cooking and baking and to also share recipes, techniques and tips with other keen bakers.
I believe that baking and decorating can be hugely beneficial for kids. So here’s what happens when you swap colouring pens for a whisk!
10 Ways to Encourage Learning through Baking
1. Depending on the child’s age, ask them to write the recipe out in a notebook. This helps to show the structure of a recipe and gives them handwriting practice.
2. Scaling the recipe up or down in order to increase or decrease the number of cakes/biscuits you end up with improves their math skills.
3. Following a recipe helps children to understand the importance of following a sequence. They learn the importance of being methodical and consistent.
4. We all love a bit of bread so getting kids involved in making it is a great way of showing them cause and effect. They get to see exactly how ingredients combine to produce a tangible everyday item.
5. Baking is a wonderful way to improve coordination. Rolling out cookie dough, cutting out shapes, icing and decorating all help to improve hand-eye coordination and is also super fun!
6. Sharing what you have baked with others is a great way of explaining the importance of community and charity to your child.
7. Baking offers kids a way to identify and learn how to use different tools and appliances in the kitchen, helping them to acquire real life skills and knowledge.
8. Baking allows children to explore their senses. Talk to your child about how the dough /batter feels in their hands, have a chat about the noises in the kitchen, perhaps make music with the spoons, whisks and utensils you’re using. Ask your child what they think of the different smells and talk to them about how their baked treats taste.
9. Baking is a wonderful way to introduce safety in the kitchen as well as food safety and hygiene; a message that has never been more important!
10. Finally, baking is a wonderful way to engage with your child on an emotional level. So many recipes and baking habits are tied to our family histories and childhoods. Tell your children about recipes that are important to you, ones which spark nostalgia, or about recipes from their background and culture.
Baking is a way to open up a metaphorical family recipe book. For example, discuss a baked treat which is a close relative’s favourite and perhaps make it together. This helps them to feel close to those relatives who they might be missing and you can then share pictures with the rest of the family too.