Baking cookies and treats with your kids is a time honored tradition during the holiday season. However, one thing rings true for every parent: holiday baking with kids can be a mess. We have come up with some of our favorite tips and tools for your holiday baking this season, as well as some reasons as to why you might want to start this tradition in your house.
Why You Should Make Holiday Baking One of Your Family Traditions
There are many reasons you should incorporate holiday baking into your family traditions during the holiday season. In addition to checking off "make Santa's cookies" from your never-ending holiday list, holiday baking also:
- Incorporates math into your child's day. Measuring and adding are all part of baking.
- Works on fine motor skills. Scooping, pouring, and stirring are all smaller motor skills needed in baking.
- It starts a family tradition. If you make holiday baking a tradition early, it will continue to be something your children look forward to every year.
- You can try new recipes. It's always fun to try something a little different each year. Here are 4 holiday cookie recipes you can try (along with parenting hacks to make it easier).
Read on for some tips on how to make holiday baking easier with kids this year.
1Prep the Field
One of the best things you can do before you start baking this holiday season is to get all of your ingredients and tools ready. Like they say, idle hands are the devil's playground and nothing is more devilish than a toddler or preschooler looking at a canister of sprinkles.
So before you invite your child into the kitchen with you, get everything out that you will need: measuring cups, ingredients, baking tools, and decorating items. Unwrap any packages, open any items, and prepare any and every thing possible so that when it's time to bake you can just measure, pour, and mix without having to search around your kitchen for the things you need while Cindy Lou-Who over there pours out flour onto the floor. Use a Silicone Mat for Easy Clean-Up
One of the most under utilized tools in the kitchen, especially for holiday baking, is a silicone mat. These mats are perfect for when you have to bake dozens of cookies but don't have time to wash and dry baking sheets. They come in all different sizes so they can fit any size baking sheet you might have.
If you don't have silicone baking mats and don't have the time to wait for Amazon to deliver them to your door you can always use parchment paper. It is another under-utilized tool in the holiday baking arena.
2Get a Toddler Tower
Probably the most useful tool for holiday baking is a toddler tower step stool like this one from Simplay3. It helps to make holiday baking as easy as possible.
The Toddler Tower helps your littlest chefs easily reach the countertops without standing on tippy toes or sitting on the counter. Messes will be less (but not totally eliminated because, kids) because they will be able to scoop, pour, mix, and decorate with ease. It is durable and easy to clean, and can be adjusted for your child's height. You can even keep their little aprons, chef hat, and cooking tools in the storage space below (you might want to keep some wipes in there, too). Bonus: They can help with clean-up by wiping counters and washing dishes!
3Get Instagram Worthy Photos
Everyone knows that in this day and age we all follow the rule of "pics or it didn't happen." These bite-size aprons and chef hats are the perfect way to add some extra cuteness to your social media photos, and they will also help to keep your kid's clothes a little bit cleaner and keep some of the flour out of their hair. Maybe.
4Tip 5: Get Tools that are Just Their Size
Nothing is harder for a toddler or preschooler than trying to stir with a spoon that is just way too big for them. These pint-size baking tools are great for all your cooking needs. Your kids will be less likely to splatter cookie dough on your ceiling from a rogue spatula if they are able to handle ones that are the perfect size for them.
5Use Trays for Decorating
One of the best parts of holiday baking is decorating the cookies. Well, it's the best part for kids anyways. For parents, not so much. Decorating is messy. However, using a large tray that will catch all the extra icing and sprinkles (well, most of them anyways) will make clean-up much easier.
The Toddler Tower from Simplay3 also helps during decorating because it keeps your child up high on the counter where they can reach comfortably and easily without slipping, standing on tippy toes, or stretching their little arms.
Holiday baking with your kids can be fun- if you set the ground work ahead of time and get the right tools to make it enjoyable for everyone. No matter what, it's going to be a little messy, a little crazy, but also tons of fun. Holiday baking is a time-honored tradition and not only is it educational for your kids but it also creates wonderful memories.