“Autumn days when the grass is jewelled and the silk inside a chestnut shell”. Who didn’t love belting that one out in assembly? But not only does the month of October bring with it glorious misty mornings and the crunch of rusty leaves beneath our feet, but also…National Baking Week! That’s right my friends, an entire week dedicated to celebrating baking, so that we can indeed, have our cake and eat it!!
With the ever-rising popularity of programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is an activity reserved only for those who know their mille feuille from their roulade, but don’t be put off by thinking you need to be able to effortlessly pipe 400 roses on to a 3-tiered chocolate torte with just 2 minutes on the clock. Getting back to the basics of baking is one of life’s simple and rewarding pleasures and a truly fantastic activity to do with children. Yes, adding kids to the mix (not literally) will inevitably add more mess than you can shake a rolling pin at, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity where there is so much scope for learning.
If you look at the very beginning of our Science Timeline Wallbook, you will see that back in 3000 BCE Egyptian cooks developed closed ovens, allowing bread to be baked with yeast so it rises. In terms of baking, if you want to start somewhere simple, making bread is perfect.
We don’t really think about it as adults, but there is actually a lot of maths involved when cooking. There’s mathematical language such as more/less, counting the number spoonful’s or specific ingredients such as eggs, number recognition when looking at the weight on food packets, measuring when weighing ingredients on the scales, estimating how much more of something is needed, fractions when using half the mixture for example, I mean the list goes on! The simple act of baking can really help contextualise all that maths and cement children’s understanding in a fun and practical way.
Additionally, chatting together over the mixing bowl is the perfect place to extend their vocabulary and following the sequence of a recipe really helps with communication skills. Why not get children to think about their senses; what does the dough feel like? Does the top look golden? Can you smell the cinnamon?
More importantly however, is that teaching children to bake is a great life skill and… it’s FUN!! Whether they want to rustle up a hedgehog shaped bread roll, or make muffins or biscuits, pop a pinny on and get stuck in together!
Happy baking everyone and may the Marie Antionette in you shout, “Let them eat cake!”
Follow the link below for recipes, tips and more!