Kids In The Kitchen

Decorating By Lenette Updated 8 Apr 2008 , 4:02pm by Lenette

Lenette Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 4:09pm
post #1 of 17

My oldest daughter has gotten very interested in my cakes and cookies, cooking in general too. She always wants to watch and has started asking if she can help or if she can make something.

I hope this doesn't sound mean but cakes/cookies is my time. I kinda of shut out everything and get into my own little world. Often I am working on something for someone else and she can't help anyway.

My question is this, she is almost 5, how can I introduce her to this? I know I can give her a cupcake or something to decorate while I am working or make it quality time thing and show her some stuff. I don't want to give her an icing bag and tip and let her go though. Would squeeze bottles work? Has anyone used those little Wilton tubes?

What are some easy things to start her with helping to bake or cook (she want to help with dinner too)?
I need suggestions please. I want to encourage her but am at a loss of how to. Thanks!

16 replies
sweetpea1972 Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 4:16pm
post #2 of 17

My daughter's 7 now, but has been helping me for years. Everyone is amazed that she can tell you what goes into a cake (I use mixes), i.e. eggs, oil, water. I've let her help me hold the mixer since she was strong enough. Now (for family/friends only) I let her crack the eggs.

In terms of having your own time, I also agree. It also tends to take longer with a little one icon_smile.gif What we try to do is either make cupcakes for the family or once in a while, we'll make small cakes (6") together and let her decorate them. We get sprinkles from our local Amish market and she goes to town! I've tried the squeeze bottles, but they are a pain to fill (and clean) and they don't hold that much. I use chip clips on the back of my decorator bags so the icing doesn't leak out. I also limit her color/tip selection so I don't have 100 tips to clean when she's finished.

Now my 2 year old is getting interested already!

Sorry this is so long. Hope it helps.

diane Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 8:07pm
post #3 of 17

count it a blessing that she's showing an interest at an early age. my daughter is 17 and she has never shown an interest in the kitchen...but my 18 yr. old son has...go figure! icon_confused.gif

mbelgard Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 10:39pm
post #4 of 17

Kids can do many things in the kitchen as long as they are supervised for safety.

My youngest just turned five and he LOVES to cook. He puts the bowl up on the mixer, puts ingredients in, cracks eggs, rolls and cuts out cookies and just about everything else. He knows about measuring cups and often can tell what I'm baking based on ingredients.

Last fall he spent weeks helping my MIL can, she has an old hand crank to grind foods that he could use and they made freezer jam and apple butter.

My oldest is 9 and I've been teaching him to cook on his own.

At Christmas time let her decorate her own cookie house, I have a group of kids over almost every year and all the boys love it.

Molding candy would be an easy project for your daughter too. The melts don't need tempered and molds are normally around $2 and come in endless designs. My oldest can melt the candy on his own and they sometimes decide to make candy. I've found that his skill helps me, there have been times when I've put him to making solid colored candies that I've needed for something. icon_twisted.gif

There is nothing wrong with telling your daughter that she can't always help you when you bake but encourage her to help too.

darandon Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 10:50pm
post #5 of 17

I taught my girl scout troop when they were brownies how to decorate cupcakes. a few of them at cadettes still decorate cakes. Get them involved early.

Crazy-4-Cakes Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 10:52pm
post #6 of 17

When my daughter was younger (she's 16 now), she loved helping me. by the time she was 13 or so I could rely on her to help with the mixing, baking and even mixing the frosting (for friends cakes of course). she even decorated a few of her own cakes when I was too busy at my other job! But now that I could legally use her as hired help, she wants no interest in it! Go figure, when she was 2 she begged to wash dishes! LOL! Eat this time up with your kids cuz soon they will be too cool for "kitchen" work!

bellatrixothersis Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 10:54pm
post #7 of 17

My daughter is 9 and I always gave her - her own thing. It's a great way for them to learn measurements. At 5 your daughter would probably love to sculpt with fondant (playdough). Maybe get some already made - show her how to color it and let her go at it. I would also give my daughter some flour and water to make a dough, she loved that.

WendyLaLa Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 10:57pm
post #8 of 17

My 8 year old really wants help and gets really ticked that she can't. I used to shove all the cake scraps into a small 4 inch pan and freeze. I'd unmold it and let her go to town. I've also gotten grahm crackers and glued them together with bc and made a little house and let her decorate it. By the way those little wilton bottle only work well with something a little watery, buttercream doesn't flow very well though it. Have fun!!!

Happybug98 Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 11:04pm
post #9 of 17

My son has just turned two and I am always making cookies or cakes for family and friends and my son helps out all of the time. I pre-measure the flour in a seperate bowl from the mixer and then as the mixer is going I give him a measuring table spoon (instead of measuring cup since it is easier for him to hold) and I let him put the flour in. I always stand behind him and help so that my mix does not get over mixed. I also let him crack eggs in a seperate bowl from the mixer and that way if he gets egg shells in it I can take them out. He gets so excited to do this that it makes his day and also gives me quality time to be with him. I usually find that after he puts the flour in he starts to lose interest and then goes on to do something else. Which is perfect...because I can finish what I am doing. Other things that I have done for him is we got him a play kitchen which we keep in the kitchen with miniture appliances with rolling pin, mini spatula, etc just like mom so he can imitate what I am doing. Since your daughter is 5 she may like that too.

jklm3721 Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 11:09pm
post #10 of 17

I have two boys ages 6 & 3, they both help out in the kitchen. They both will help to measure flour, sugar, spices, and the older one will also help crack eggs. I believe that you can never start them out too early in learning how to measure, and cook. My oldest will help with the stirring of things on the stove, and my youngest is in charge of mixing things in the bowls. They both love to help, and I understand with your "own time", and let her know that she can't always help. I too let my kids have a decorator bag with a limited amount of tips and they really enjoy doing that.

Sorry this is so long, hope it helps.

tabbiekat Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 11:17pm
post #11 of 17

My 4 year old son loves to help in the kitchen! I can hardly keep him out. I let him help if I am making cake or cupcakes for family and friends. He can measure most of the dry ingredients by himself. He also loves to help with meals. I found a cute kids cookbook that we have used a few recipies out of and he helps make those. Itâs by Disney called The Magic Kitchen Cookbook. Most of the things are really simple with few ingredients, some are a little more complicated. I found it at Costco about a week or so ago. There are times that I donât let him help, or would just prefer to have time to myself. But it is so nice to have him so interested in something I love doing and to want to be right there helping all the way. He would go to cake classes with me if he could! icon_biggrin.gif

mommycakediva Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 11:21pm
post #12 of 17

icon_smile.gif Well my little guy, turning 5 in nov. has shown an interest lately to! He even wants to help do dishes and set the table. Some times I will let him help me but only if its for home baked goodies. He knows that when I make a cake for someone he can't help. Sometimes if he is bugging I will give him the leftovers of fondant and some cut outs, it seems to keep him busy forever! My husband actually makes brownies with him sometimes, its real cute to see the two of them work together! hth

summernoelle Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 11:27pm
post #13 of 17

I know it is your time-and that is important! But...you have your whole life to make cakes, and this sweet precious time where your kids are little is soooo fast. My son is 4 1/2, and he can help alot. Measuring, counting, stiring, etc. And giving them their own pastry bag with frosting, a cupcake and sprinkles is a great idea!

Happybug98 Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 11:35pm
post #14 of 17

My son has just turned two and I am always making cookies or cakes for family and friends and my son helps out all of the time. I pre-measure the flour in a seperate bowl from the mixer and then as the mixer is going I give him a measuring table spoon (instead of measuring cup since it is easier for him to hold) and I let him put the flour in. I always stand behind him and help so that my mix does not get over mixed. I also let him crack eggs in a seperate bowl from the mixer and that way if he gets egg shells in it I can take them out. He gets so excited to do this that it makes his day and also gives me quality time to be with him. I usually find that after he puts the flour in he starts to lose interest and then goes on to do something else. Which is perfect...because I can finish what I am doing. Other things that I have done for him is we got him a play kitchen which we keep in the kitchen with miniture appliances with rolling pin, mini spatula, etc just like mom so he can imitate what I am doing. Since your daughter is 5 she may like that too.

musbeus Posted 3 Apr 2008 , 11:36pm
post #15 of 17

My kids have always love helping out in the kitchen. Preparing breakfast on a weekend is a huge family affair in our home. LOL My children are 16, 13, 11, and 9.

Have you thought about an easy bake oven? I have no experience with them but have saw them in toy stores.

TexasSugar Posted 4 Apr 2008 , 2:01am
post #16 of 17

My nephew loves helping me or really just playing with the icing. He's almost 13 now and showing interest in who to do different things with the bags and tips.

When he was younger, probably your daughter's age I would make him a cake and ice it for him. Then let him pick three colors and I'd color the icing and make the bags. He got to choose three tips to go on the bags, and then he could do what ever he wanted on the cake. And he had a blast. I didn't try to teach him anything at that point, because he wasn't ready, but he had fun just playing.

Wrap a rubberband around the top of the bag so the icing stays in, and only fill it a small amount. The less icing in the bag the easier it will be for her to squeeze and because she'll most likely want to use all the icing in the bag.

Measuring is great too, a great lesson for math and fractions (when she's a big older). If she isn't ready for that fill the measuring cups up and then let her dump them. She can also do that in regular cooking as well. You can chop something and she can drop it in the mixing bowl or stir things together.

It is hard to say exactly what to let your daughter do in the kitchen because only you know her and what she can really handle.

And I would say instead of having her help when it is a cake you are doing for someone else or one you have deadline on, that you set aside some time for you and her to play in the kitchen. That what she gets to spend time with you and learn, and yet you still have your you time when you need it.

Lenette Posted 8 Apr 2008 , 4:02pm
post #17 of 17

Thanks all! I have been finding small ways to include her in the kitchen over the past few days. She seemed happy about it. I appreciate all your input! icon_smile.gif

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