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Is it just me, or is baking with a toddler always a messy affair? (All you mommies out there, you’re probably comparing your kiddos to mine right now and come to think, “woah, thank goodness, it could be much worse”…)
Lyons Cub loves to bake. His favorites are brownies and cupcakes, but we’ve also baked cookies, cakes, bread, and pretzels before. As part-Germans, we cherish good, healthy bread, and we often visited a German bakery in Clarksville, TN, called Silke’s Old World Breads. They have delicious choices of breads and bread rolls, and from eight months onward, when Lyons Cub tried baby-led weaning, he tasted their Currywurst, pizza, and other yummy foods:
Our bread doesn’t look bad, either, right?
At 1.5 years old, Lyons Cub enjoyed the sensory play with flour. I always scrubbed the kitchen floor really well, and then we worked on the floor (we didn’t have much counter space, and I did not want to risk his toppling off the learning tower). He put some flower onto the floor, rolled the dough in it, and used the cookie cutters to make delicious cookies. For Easter, we had a bunny and egg-shaped cookie cutters, and for Christmas, trees, stars, hearts, an angel, a dog, a puppy, a kitten, and even a gecko, so all our pets were covered 😉
Here, you see my little baker at work:
Most of the time, we ate the cookies ourselves; especially when he had a snotty nose, we couldn’t offer them to anybody else 😉 For Christmas, we also made a gingerbread Hansel & Gretel witch’s house (from a kit from ALDI), and Lyons Cub had fun decorating the roof, windows, door, and walls with sugar and candy. He didn’t eat much of it, but the creation itself was the point of it all. It looked nice for a long time, until it became hard as rock 😉
The fine motor skills he learned in the process were how to open a bag (of flour and sugar) with his hands or scissors, how to put sprinkles on (he loved that part, although he tried to eat them before he applied them!), how to put pieces of candy decoration on his gingerbread house and make them stick in the liquid sugar, how to roll the dough, and how to use the cookie cutters.
The cleaning process was mostly left to mommy. He was taught to wipe off things, but the mess he left was usually bigger than before he smeared it all over the place 😉 We are still preparing our baked goods on the floor, but nowadays, we put a plastic sheet underneath, so mommy doesn’t have to clean the crevices meticulously anymore. When Lyons Cub was about two years old, he got to hold the ladle and fill chocolate batter into cupcake liners, which he had put into the mold all by himself. Of course, he had to taste whether it was good!
Below, he is sitting at his little Montessori table, and you can see how he fills the muffin liners nicely and orderly with a measuring spoon, which worked relatively well, and he was extremely proud. As soon as he got the ladle, he was still proud, but the result became less presentable:
The one thing Lyons Cub absolutely despises is to get raw egg white on his hands. He just abhors the slimy feeling. He doesn’t mind to play with toy slime, glue, mud, dirt, playdough, wet sand, or anything else of comparable consistency, but eggs are a big no-no. As soon as he has counted, “one, two, three” and handed me over the eggs we need for baking our cake, mommy has to smash them on the rim of the cooking pot, and he grimaces and is glad he didn’t have to do it. The few times he did try, he had to wash his hands immediately after.
And here is my absolute favorite: we made chocolate cake. My son really got a feel for it!!
I don’t know about you, but during the pandemic in 2020, our baking and cooking got a big boost and we created something almost daily. While my son worked on his baking skills, I perfected my cleaning skills, so it was a win-win! His final destination, as you might guess, was the bathtub…