My boys love to help me cook. They love to measure, pour, stir and dump. Of course, if they are helping me cook this means there is potential for what ever we are making to turn out uneatable. This underlying probability does make baking and cooking with them tense sometimes and I have to breathe deep to keep calm. I am growing to realize a mess it isn’t an emergency and if we have to start over or make something else for dinner then that is what we will do. But, that potential for failure is very challenging for me.
I gathered up some muffin pans, cake pans, bread pans, mixing utensils and bowls and brought them outside. I find I am calmer outside with messy crafts or projects and the boys feel free to enjoy and explore. So, I found a sheet and some large clear bins to help with the mess and they went to work.
Initially, the boys didn’t know what to do with all the different ingredients (almonds, brown sugar, salt, cranberries, oatmeal, crackers) they loved cracking the confetti eggs but with no substance to hold the smaller ingredients and confetti eggs together they lost interest quickly.
So, I went in the house and brought out our flour container (it was about 1/3 full) and 4 cups of water. The Play Create Explore post suggests making flour dough but, I didn’t know it would be such an essential part to jump starting my boys. They loved making the dough, playing and creating with it. Next time we will make it first (both L and C enjoyed mixing the water and flour together).
C loves pouring water on everything. He happily poured water and mixed all his hand-picked ingredients together while making the biggest mess ever.
And then it was time to clean up. Wow.
There were a lot of dishes and a lot of gooey flour dough. At the time we didn’t have a dishwasher…just me. It was a lot to clean up but the boys did have a great time and I knew what I was getting into. I don’t think this will be a frequent weekly activity but when I am full of energy and ready I know they will love to do it again.
I really wanted to give them a chance to make a mess and not worry about me saying “ahh keep all the flour in the bowl.” or ”don’t stir too fast please pay attention” or my favorite “We need all those ingredients so stop eating them.”
I know I am not alone, cooking and baking with young kids is challenging right?
I think once they realized I was ready for the mess and happy they were making it both L and C started to get into this activity. I loved listening to them talk to each other about what they were adding to their dishes. They wanted me to “try” everything twice and we had a lot of fun.