I have many great memories of baking as a child with my mother and brother. My Mum is a great baker and we spent many hours in the kitchen during the school holidays making biscuits (for my American readers, we New Zealanders are like the English and call cookies biscuits, and what you call biscuits we call scones), marshmallow slice and truffles.
So it is lovely to be able to bake with my tot, Sausage. With a modicum of effort you can make it a breeze to bake with 2 year olds, who normally tend to have the attention span of a gnat. While it’s not free, baking is a frugal activity which should keep your tot occupied for a good 20 minutes or so if you do it right.
- Keep it simple. Choose a recipe with few ingredients, that’s easy to put together, and doesn’t take too long to bake. If you have a particularly high-energy child, you could choose a no-bake recipe, but at the moment I’m practicing the art of ‘waiting’ with Sausage so waiting 15 minutes for biscuits was perfect.
- Make it yummy! You want the experience to be fun, so do make something that they are excited about eating (there are plenty of healthy options out there). I try to limit the amount of sugar in Sausage’s diet, but our latest batch of baking was made to be shared with our cousins at a special afternoon tea, and contained some sugar. She loved tasting the biscuits as we went along and informed me several times that ‘I like baking, Mummy’ and ‘Baking is delicious!’
- Assemble all of the ingredients and trays/pans/baking paper etc that you need before you start. Remember that gnat attention span? Help your tot focus by having everything ready so they can get stuck in straight away. Once they are old enough to recognise numbers then you can guide them with measuring out the ingredients, but that would probably be too sophisticated for your average 2 year old.
- Get messy. Take a deep breath and let them put the ingredients into the bowl and mix it up by themselves (with your guidance of course). The sense of mastery your tot will get is worth any mess created. Sausage loved shaking the flour through the sieve and invented a little shaking song as she did so.
And then she LOVED forming the biscuit balls with her hands (‘Squish, squish Mummy!’). The biscuits will not be perfect, but who cares?
- Use the finished product as an exercise in sharing. Share it with the rest of the family, with your elderly neighbour across the street, with their friends at playgroup.
You can find the Afghan biscuits recipe here. Sugar free, tot approved recipes to come!