Baking with toddlers - a recipe for disaster?

With Great British Bake Off back on our screens tonight, for the next few months we’ll be bombarded with images of delightful delicacies and tasty treats. But what’s the reality like, especially when toddlers are involved?

I have to admit I’m not a natural cook, and sometimes find baking with my young daughter a challenge (although I love that she loves it, and I love the idea).

But does it have to be? Here’s some tips for baking with toddlers and young children, on how to make sure your mini kitchen doesn’t reach boiling point.

Follow our stress-free tips for much less mess:

Pick your menu carefully
Don’t go for anything that requires precision, as ingredients tend to go all over the place (their face, your hair, the floor). Simple recipes with less steps and ingredients - such as biscuits - are better for younger children, and cupcakes are easier when they’re older, says TalkMum blogger Fran.

Prepare your ingredients first
Measure everything out and have it all to hand before you start. This will save a lot of time and eliminate areas of potential boredom. If you’re baking for someone else, remember to have a couple of spare spoons handy, as the temptation for little people to lick the spoon is all too great (icing is tempting, isn't it?)

Scale everything down
Give them their own small bowl and spoon, which gives everything much less mess potential.

Decoration’s what you need
Let’s face it, the decoration is the fun part. And it can be hard when you’re little to sit through the baking and cooling first. So skip this part and buy ready-made cupcakes to decorate; even icing rich tea-style biscuits works well.

Small measures
Make sure they have small bowls of sprinkles, not the whole packet. This limits the amount that goes in their mouth, and means you won’t be picking hundreds and thouands off the floor forever after.

Don’t expect perfection
It’s all about the enthusiasm and the making, and not necessarily having a Pinterest-perfect final result. Your children are likely to make beautifully wonky cakes. The fun is in the making. And, of course. the eating.

Do you have any brilliant tips for stress-free baking with children? Let us know. And if you’re looking for more tips on toddler activities, check out Fran’s post on ways to keep your children entertainedthis summer.

Gillian blogs over at A Baby on Board about London life as a new mum, covering everything from baby clothes to breastfeeding. She is pregnant with her second child and lives with her toddler daughter Eliza (an enthusiastic amateur chef) and husband Alex in south London.

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