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5 baking recipes for kids who can’t get enough of TV baking shows

Baking can be beneficial for kids for so many reasons. They learn math, cooperation, patience, reasoning, measuring, balance, and self-confidence and of course, they and the whole family get to enjoy the delicious treats that come out of their hard work. As they advance with their skills they’ll learn more and more and be able to contribute to family meals in a way that hopefully won’t feel like a chore. It’s a lovely weekend family activity.

Finding the right baking recipes for kids involves choosing ones without too many steps or ingredients and ones that are physically safe enough. The key factor is your child’s age: the youngest children need supervision and may not be able to chop with knives, crack eggs, use a stove, or open and close the oven, for example. They would just be helping to stir together ingredients for dough, knead and roll dough, and decorate with icing, frosting, and sprinkles. Try not to give them anything to frustrating to turn them off from continuing to try while also challenging them a bit. As they get older they can take on more and more.

Here are five recipes of varying difficulty levels that are all kid-approved.

mom and daughter baking

Baking for kids: What they learn

Kids develop confidence by successfully following a recipe in an independent and self-directed way. It helps them learn to follow directions and to problem-solve creatively. They also develop fine motor skills, bilateral coordination (using both hands at once), hand strength, spatial perception, and hand-eye coordination by working with the tools and ingredients of baking.

Children are able to apply what they learn in school in a real-life setting through baking, like counting, measuring, and following directions. You can further develop all of this by encouraging them to talk about what they’re doing as they do it.

Mother and daughter having fun cooking

Peanut butter kiss cookies

The dough for these cookies only takes four ingredients to make and kids can easily help mix it all together then roll up balls to put on a cookie sheet. Ten to twelve minutes in the preheated oven and then comes the most fun part: adding the kisses! Kids can help press the Hershey’s Kisses onto the cooked cookies, one per cookie. The kiss will melt just the tiniest bit to make it stick but still keep its shape. These are a delicious treat and the peanut butter with chocolate combo is a fan favorite. These are quick, easy, and fun: the kids baking trifecta!

Mini M&M cookies

Make these cookies so small that kids can pop more than one for a snack or dessert. Just like the cookies above, they can stir and mix ingredients and roll the dough into balls, all very kid-friendly baking fun. These take 7 to 8 minutes in the oven.

Soft pretzels

If your kids have really been watching TV baking shows and are getting advanced beyond cookies and are old enough for boiling water and some more steps, try this recipe on for size. They’ll need to mix ingredients together and then knead them on a floured surface which can be some messy fun for elementary or older kids. Then roll the dough into the pretzel shape (this is especially fun but also challenging), then boil and then bake the pretzels. It’s a long recipe with multiple steps but what a unique item to make!

Cake mix bars

If pretzels are too complex, try something from a mix that doesn’t turn into what the mix intended. Add sprinkles and some other ingredients into cake mix and bake for 18 to 20 minutes in a baking pan, and you can make some delicious blondie-style bars. It’s very simple, but your young child can feel like a real baker.

Three-ingredient mini-muffins

With only flour, sugar, and cream, even little kids can make these mini muffins. Just mix, pour, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, cool, and eat. Big kids could make these without adults.

Baking for kids: Best recipes

The recipes above will help develop all of the skills discussed, like math, fine motor, and self-confidence. They have few steps and few ingredients to be simple for children, with the exception of the pretzel recipe which is a great choice for older children looking for something more interesting than simple cookies. No matter what you bake, just make sure you get into the kitchen together to enjoy the treats together!

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Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
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