Friday, March 27, 2009

Physical Friday: Let's Get Baking!

Today we'll head into the kitchen and mix up a batch of cookies! This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. Whenever I talk about cooking with Sammi, I typically hear these responses: It takes so much longer to cook with kids helping; It is so much messier when the kids help; I don't know how my kids can help.

Here are some ideas to combat those potential setbacks:
  • Set aside extra time to bake. Think of this as any other play activity. Let it take as long as it takes!
  • Plan for messes. Keep paper towels, washcloths, or sponges close at hand to quickly wipe up the messes. It's so much easier to clean up as you go so it's not so overwhelming when you're done.
  • Making cooking a play activity takes a little extra prep, but it's worth it!
  • Give your kids wiggle room. Let them practice pouring, scooping, stirring. You'll never know what they can do until you let them try.
Cooking promotes motor development. Kids are practicing fine and gross motor movements: holding a measuring spoon and pouring it into a bowl, stirring, scooping flour or sugar with a measuring cup. As long as you are standing right there, almost anything you do your child can do also (as long as your willing to deal with a little bit of mess!)

I have to credit my husband with this, but since we started cooking with Sammi, she can now crack an egg, open it and dump the egg into a bowl. To top it off, she rarely gets any egg shells in with the egg. I know that the only reason she can do that at 2 1/2 years is because we trusted her enough to let her try. I cleaned a lot of egg up off the floor, but now she has a lot of confidence in her abilities and loves to cook.

If this is your first experience letting your child cook with you, I caution you to not expect it to go perfectly. It may not even go smoothly! But, if you remember that it's play and the process is the activity, then it can be a lot of fun. Your kids will be so excited to do something they've never done before, especially something they see you do all the time.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Crisco)
3/4 C (cup)Butter flavored Crisco shortening
1 1/4 C firmly packed light brown sugar
2 T (tablespoon) milk
1 T vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1 t (teaspoon) salt
3/4 t baking soda
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl. Mix until well blended.
  3. Beat egg into creamed mixture.
  4. Add flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
  6. Drop by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet 1-2 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheet and place on cooling rack.
Enjoy with a glass of milk! (I give Sammi the beater to eat while I drop the cookies on the baking sheet. Her attention span for this activity is pretty much up once the chocolate chips come out!)
I'm also over at I Never Grew Up today sharing one of our favorite games. Come check it out!


SkylarKD said...

My tip: everyone involved should wear an apron! We've all had enough ingredients spilled on us that we've learned this lesson! ;)

Steve and Hailey said...

I love cooking with Jack (mostly baking). He really is a cute little helper and I it's playtime that I can enjoy too. I get a little tired of playing dinosaurs.

Rebecka said...

Another bonus is that cooking is full of counting and math. Now you can just instruct "two of these, three of these and count with them, but when your kids are a litle older you can have them measure the 3 1/4 C. flour with a 1/4 measuring cup, or with a 1/2 cup measure and a 1/4 cup. You can double and halve recipies and decide how to cut the brownies if you want 9 bigger ones or 12 smaller ones. It's been a while since I cooked with my've inspired me.

Amber said...

SkylarKD: Aprons are definitely a must!
Hailey: We also play a lot of dinosaurs at our house, but I imagine it's still different! Our dinosaurs don't growl.
Rebecka: Cooking id so wonderful because it's usefulness expands as our kids grow up. Thanks for sharing.

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