Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By Deb Botzek-Linn,
U of M Extension
If you enjoy holiday baking and have the time and patience, plan to include your children or grandchildren in the making and baking of your holiday treats. Not only will you be making family memories, you will also have the opportunity to teach math, science and chemistry. As we are measuring, mixing and baking, we don't often think about the "science" of what is actually taking place in the bowl and in the oven.
Kids enjoy hands-on learning experiences. Baking is a hands-on learning activity at its best; it's a fun and non-threatening way to learn math and science, it has just the right mix of messiness for kids, and promises a tasty reward at the end!
Math comes as the child learns to read a recipe and is a good way to learn about fractions. Which is biggerÐ1/2 or 1/4? Measuring cups and spoons and the measuring of ingredients helps to visualize fractions. Using cookie cutters with care is a good way to recognize spatial relationship.
Baking soda, baking powder or yeast, including what they do, is the beginning of a homemade chemistry lesson. How that cake or bread rise in the oven is chemistry in action. Take the time to show children what happens when you drop a little baking soda in water and explain how those "fizzies" make the cake rise.
When children are big enough to count, encourage them to say the numbers as you remove hot cookies from the baking sheet to the cooling rack. A division lesson for older children is how many dozen cookies do we have?
Safety first! When baking with kids, instruct and supervise them on safe kitchen practices and begin with a 20-second handwashing.
Children enjoy making the cookies that mean holidays to your family. While you are working together you have the opportunity to share your family stories. Stories about how the recipe for this sugar cookie came from their great-grandmother teaches them about family traditions and history.
An afternoon of family holiday baking ... learning, sharing, making memories and good eating too!