Messy fun in the kitchen


​​One of the best things about baking is the yummy treat you get to enjoy at the end, and when the kids get involved there are so many more benefits for their learning than just a quick snack.

While those little hands are getting sticky and flour is covering the bench, you’re feeding your child’s brain with new words, science, and maths skills.

Plus the time they spend interacting and having fun with you strengthens your relationship and your child’s sense of security and attachment.

Language and listening skills

As you say the recipe instructions one at a time, your child is learning to listen carefully and follow directions.

Help build their oral vocabulary by using lots of different words such as crunch, stir, whip, mix, beat, flatten, rise, pour, slurp, sift, cool, add, measure, bake, cook.

You can also encourage your child to talk and use their problem solving skills by asking questions like:

  • What will the cookies will look like when they come out of the oven?
  • What will happen if we put the cake in the fridge?
  • Can we take the flour back out of the bowl now that we’ve added the milk?

Fine motor and coordination skills

Your child will strengthen their fine motor skills as they use their fingers and hands to pour ingredients into the measuring jug, make balls or shapes with the batter, roll dough with a rolling pin, and decorate the baked cookies with icing and sprinkles.

Strong finger and hand muscles are important when they’re learning to manage zips and buttons, cut with scissors or develop a strong pencil grip.

Real-life math skills

Support their maths development by counting out the eggs or cups out loud, weighing the butter, measuring liquids, cutting cookies into different shapes, or making patterns with the icing and sprinkles.

Ask questions to get them thinking:

  • We need two eggs, but we only have one, how many more do we need?
  • What shape is this cookie, how many sides does it have?
  • What comes last, beating the eggs or putting the cake in the oven?

You can also use this as an opportunity to talk about time – how many minutes the cake needs to cook.

Emotional and social skills

Help develop hygiene and safety awa​reness by washing hands and talking about the rules in the kitchen before you get started.

If baking with a friend or sibling, cooking together can help your child learn about taking turns, sharing and patience.

Baking also develops your child’s pride and self-confidence in their abilities, which will continue to support them as they move in to kindy and school.

At the end of the day, those delicious treats might not last long but the new skills and memories will last forever – and that’s sweeter than anything you can bake.

Last updated 05 September 2023