Sometimes I struggle with finding activities to occupy the days with my two girls. I feel there is a LOT of pressure on parents now, to provide children with a variety of things to do throughout the week… almost like a social parenting competition. Sometimes, the simplest things can bring the most pleasure.
1. They love it
My 3-year-old toddler was so excited when I said: “Shall we bake some biscuits today?” My happy-natured 16-month-old girl replies “Yes” to everything I say so I can’t really count her response as excitement!
2. It doesn’t cost much
I try to keep my cupboard stocked with the basic baking goods – flour, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla essence and that toddler essential – sprinkles!
So we made biscuits. A fail-safe Mary Berry three-ingredient recipe: minimal mess, minimal time and a tasty end result. They helped to gather the ingredients; flour, sugar and butter, and as I organised quantities my toddler mixed and my little one emptied more things out of the cupboard (at least she was happy!).
As I was shaping them into biscuits and they were enjoying the cookie dough remains in the bowl (who didn’t do that as a child?), it made me realise that an activity such as baking has so many positive aspects for both me as a mum and the little ones.
And it doesn’t have to be tricky. If you lack a little confidence at the start, there are so many great packet mixes that are pre-made, often with sparkly characters on the box, that can be used to reach the same end result.
3. They’re learning all the time
They are learning throughout the entire process – ingredients, measurements, recipes, physical skills and coordination. My little one did not stop asking questions throughout us baking the biscuits.
4. It ignites an interest in food and cooking
It helps spark their interest in food, cooking from scratch and having patience to see it through. We’ve already decided that we are making cupcakes next time!
5. The results taste fab – and make perfect small gifts too!
The ultimate bonus to all that fun and (incidental) education is that there is a tasty end result – hopefully! It’s a great way to occupy time, especially on a rainy afternoon, and to enjoy each other’s company without it costing the earth – just a little flour, sugar and butter… and maybe some sprinkles!