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3 min read

With Halloween tomorrow and the holidays coming up, you might be thinking about doing some festive baking with your little ones.

Toddler learning tower, made in Canada, free shipping, Montessori kitchen helper

BUT if you've ever spent time cooking or baking with a toddler and found the experience a little frustrating, I completely understand.

With young children, baking can often be some combination of:

  • a gigantic mess
  • hands covered in batter
  • a broken record of "put that down"

You are definitely not alone if this has been your experience BUT don't worry, you don't have to throw away the cookies cutters just yet.

There's a couple simple things you can do to that will make the process much more enjoyable for everyone.

1. Pre-Measure All Your Ingredients

Everything should be pre-measured before your child steps foot in the kitchen. Even eggs should be counted out, put into a bowl, and the carton put back into the fridge.

This removes the temptation for your child to grab any ingredient they can get their hands on and dump it, either onto the floor or in the mixing bowl.

It'll mean a few more dirty dishes but will cut down on the overall mess and you won't have to constantly ask your child to put something down, meaning you can relax and enjoy the activity a bit more!

If you want to take the prep a step further, set out all your tools and empty the sink or dishwasher before starting too. That way used dishes and tools can go right into the sink or dishwasher.

Remember, children are natural explorers. Grabbing, touching, tasting, pouring, etc is simply irresistible. They can't help themselves.

Better to manage it on our end then expect them to not act like children!

As your child gets older, you can involve them more in the measuring and scooping. These are great math lessons...

But let's just save these steps for when you're more confident they won't dump the bag of flour all over the floor.

Baking with toddlers

2. Adjust Your Expectations

Maybe this one doesn't sound as helpful but you'll likely find baking with your children much more relaxing if you go into it with appropriate expectations.

If you can let go of the idea that this will be some 'picture perfect' holiday activity and roll with mess, you'll enjoy yourself much more.

A couple things you can pretty much always expect when baking with a toddler:
  • They will try to eat the ingredients and batter
  • Ingredients will get spilled, even when you've pre-measured them
  • They'll want to be involved in everything and will have little patience for waiting while you complete steps
Like I mentioned above, children simply cannot resist the urge to explore with all their senses.

Try to embrace the imperfection of this process.

3. Wait For The Right Time

You're human, not a super parent and you're allowed to have bad days.

On occasions when you're already feeling frustrated, tired, or just not in the mood to take on a messier activity, it's probably best to save baking for another day.

Your child will also have days when they haven't had a great sleep or are testing limits more than usual.

Again, save the kitchen activities for when everyone's feeling up to it. It'll be much more enjoyable when you do.

Optional fourth step: A Learning Tower

There's a reason that I think the Learning Tower is the #1 toddler Montessori tool.

Even if you don't get one from our shop (there's usually some great second hand options on Kijiji or Facebook), I highly recommend getting one.

It's an easy way to have your child up at the counter without breaking your back AND you can keep them (and the mess) contained to one area.

So much easier than working at a table!