Research (and good common sense) shows that it’s really, really good for kids to help with household chores, and even make mistakes while doing them. That includes letting kids help in the kitchen, too. I know: the mess! But baking with kids is a great first step, seeing as there’s limited interaction with fire and knives.
I’ve rounded up some basic baking recipes—from snacks to bread doughs, and even a delicious chocolate cake—that you can start working on with your kids in the kitchen. And with plenty of snow days coming up soon, I’m looking at this as a creative, and maybe even (gasp) educational, option to the endless Minecrafting and Mario Karting my kids have planned.
Top photo: Chocolate Chip Cookies | One Little Minute
Kids as young as toddlers can start helping in the kitchen by mixing. Yup, just mixing. Go ahead and let them take the whisk and do it themselves: They’ll be so proud. An easy tip for when little kids are assisting is to set up a full mise en place, bowls with all your ingredients measured and ready to go, the way that Rebecca at Cooking with my Kid does when baking Cornbread Donuts with her son. With all the ingredients set up ahead of time, all your little sous chef has to do is dump and stir.
Bread dough is Baking 101, so let your kids get started by trying this fun Pull-Apart Pizza Bread at Stick a Fork. Don’t you love a recipe that’s a fun diversion, but also takes care of dinner? After the dough has risen, your kids can add their favorite pizza toppings, from cheese and pepperoni to olives and mushrooms, and dinner is done.
This mouthwatering recipe for Soft Pretzels at The Baker Mama is another twist on bread dough. (Ha! Twist. Get it?) Once the dough is ready, little ones can practice rolling and shaping the pretzels, which is so much fun. Then everyone can play around with toppings, from Maegan’s classic sea salt suggestion to sweet sprinkles like cinnamon sugar. Whatever you top these with, they’ll make the perfect snack for a family movie night—if they last that long.
If your kids are older and have a simple batter recipe figured out, let them loose in the kitchen to mix up food coloring and practice piping with this super-fun recipe for Rainbow Doughnuts at one of our favorite YouTube kids’ cooking channels, Charli’s Crafty Kitchen. (And, of course, you can use natural food coloring for this, too!) We think this is perfect for breakfast after a friend sleeps over. Kids do the cooking and you’re still the cool parent. Perfect.
If your kids have experience in the kitchen and are ready to show off what they’ve learned, let them try this decadent Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Cake recipe at Half Baked Harvest. Making a cake from scratch is an exact science, so help them learn how to measure carefully and sift their ingredients well. The payoff will be sweet.
And if you still need some inspiration to get started, read this post on making Chocolate Chip Cookies with her kids by Miranda at One Little Minute (also, photo at top). It’s such great motivation for me to stop distracting my kids with toys or the TV while I cook, and get them in the kitchen helping instead. That, and those cookies look delicious.