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Holiday Baking with the Whole Family

I love baking for the holidays, and it wouldn't be the same if I didn't include the little people in my life in the fun of rolling out dough, tasting sweet treats and cooking up savory dishes.

Cooking and baking with kids underfoot can be stressful, though, both for you and for them. I've found that having a plan and giving them their own activities to work on throughout the process can help make the time in the kitchen a pleasant time for all.

Here are some age-appropriate ideas for getting your kids involved in the kitchen:

Up to Age 4:

  • pour pre-measured ingredients like flour or milk into mixing bowls
  • stir dry ingredients together in large bowls
  • place cookie cutters in rolled dough and press down with assistance
  • smash crackers and cookies into crumbs for crusts with the bottom of non-breakable cups

 

Ages 5 to 7:

  • all of the above, plus…
  • cut soft fruits or peel oranges, clementines or potatoes
  • measure dry ingredients with cups and spoons and add to mixing bowls
  • wash fruits and vegetables and remove stems
  • cut out cookies from rolled dough, slice rolled cookies, scoop drop cookies
  • crack eggs into separate containers
  • decorate cakes and cupcakes with sprinkles and nonpareils
  • load utensils and measuring cups into the dishwasher

 

Ages 7 to 9:

  • all of the above, plus…
  • measure all ingredients, both wet and dry
  • frost cookies, cupcakes and cakes
  • wipe down surfaces during the cooking process
  • roll cookie, pie and pastry dough into different sizes
  • load and unload the dishwasher
  • separate egg whites and yolks into small dishes

 

Age 10 and Over:

  • all of the above, plus…
  • use small kitchen appliances like mixers, a food processor or blender
  • chop fruits
  • add/remove cookies sheets and pans from the oven
  • use the stovetop to make sauces and ganache: stir, add ingredients, watch
  • everything!

Things to remember:

Don't forget that all children are unique in their own way. What may be appropriate for one 5-year-old to do would frustrate another. Know your children's different skill levels and abilities and choose activities that will interest them and get them engaged without being burdensome and tiresome for them. Remember the goal is to have fun and create long-lasting, loving memories.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson


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