Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Baking Together

Baking is something I enjoy doing at home, and is something I also really like to bring into the classroom with me. Typically, there are three things to baking with toddlers: 
* Creating a fun experience! This is an opportunity to show the children something that I enjoy and allowing them to create their own ideas. 
* Preparation and Set up.  This is a great time for children to enter into the process of following a logical sequence of events to get to a predictable result.  It offers many opportunities for order (the gathering and arrangement of ingredients), language (verbal and written), and logical sequencing (following the recipe directions). 
* Inquiry Process.  Even set activities like this can allow for time for the children to wonder and engage in the process of inquiry.  Why do we use these ingredients?  What if I stir one way and someone else does another?  What could we add in next time to change the outcome?

As a child baking was a rare and exciting time that I could help my mom in the kitchen and make something sweet that I could then anticipate eating. While I was interested in scooping of ingredients and adding them to the bowl as a child, I noticed when we baked together the children were curious about how the vanilla smelled, what salt and sugar taste like and giggling about some eggshell sneaking into the mix. What is this? What’s that? Can I smell it? Yeah, me too! What does it taste like? So many questions about all of our ingredients. Identifying all of what makes a muffin and getting a chance to smell, taste or even just look closely at something that they haven’t had much experience with was great. Through mixing ingredients and talking about their roles in the recipe, smelling and sampling things when possible we are teaching them about food and how it’s made. This experience began as something I enjoyed and blossomed into a way to connect with each other and with food.

The first step to a successful baking project is being prepared. Making sure you have a recipe selected ahead of time and that you have all the ingredients before mentioning the idea to the group. Once you have collected all the ingredients we place everything together on the table for all to see. We pause for a moment before starting so that everyone can look over the table, answer questions and say what we are going to make one last time. As we open bags and cartons and twist off caps we talk about the names of each ingredient and even perhaps what part it plays in the recipe. Like with most things we follow their lead, taste, smell, and inspect what the littles are interested in- whether it be from the table and bag or as the item is added to the bowl.

Another important part of baking with children is having an allotted amount of time to give children for their own pace.We were curious about the process and it felt good to explore this process sensorally, they smelt and tasted what we could during the time given.  We all had a turn to mix both the wet and dry ingredients.  It was even exciting to pass to our friends!

With colder weather approaching I hope it incorporate more baking into our days. I wonder what our next recipe might be!

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