“So, here is some flour, oil, water and salt…”
I truly enjoy baking with children. Selfishly, I love the way they are looking at adults whilst being explained about processes, like the adult is the center of the universe ,one who knows all the questions and can provide all the answers. Selfishly, I love being that adult. But I also like to engage with baking from the children’s point of view. They approach everything in life with natural awe, wonder and with a true belief that magic can really happen. Aren’t they right?! Isn’t the relationship of four ingredients turning into a gorgeous batch of buns magical? Most of the adults have a story of baking with parents or grandparents that they remember and treasure for a life long. There is nothing better than mum’s cakes, grandma’s pies or auntie’s biscuits and so on… Working with children provides all adults the opportunity to create those memories for the future baking generation. The youngest will love decorating biscuits, toddlers love mixing and preschool-aged children are actually able to follow a picture aided recipe. Baking together doesn’t have to be a daily – although once one starts, magic will happen!
“Shape it just like a ball…”
When baking together adults can experience that children have a natural connection to ingredients and that by supporting their given skills and providing highly sensory and naturalistic activities children thrive and become confident, creative and successful learners. Real life learning, where children are respected and consulted, leads to high levels of engagement, involvement and well-being. Almost none of any other activities achieves the same outcomes, happiness and sense of success than experiences based on real life tasks.
“In the hot oven the bread will grow this big…”
The Toddler Bread: A recipe that one can not fail…
Encourage the children to mix 2.5 cups white flour, 3 teaspoons of dried yeast, about 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1.5 cups of water thoroughly. Let the children shape dough on heavily oiled surface into buns of children’s choice and let it rise for about 20 minutes (for example during children’s mealtime). Bake it in pre-heated, 220 degrees C oven for 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly.
The bread will not be as fluffy and risen as it would be expected from a white loaf. It will, however, be really tasty, it will entertain the children and will certainly make them really proud. It will also teach the children about ingredients, about sustainable self-sufficiency and will bring children closer to nature.
I have previously borrowed Louv’s words to emphasize the importance of nature and real life in children’s experiences, as his thoughts summarize what every adult should wish for in their children’s early years.
“Healing the broken bond between our young and nature is in our self –interest, not only because aesthetics and justice demands it, but also our mental, physical and spiritual health depends on it. The health of the Earth depends on it.”