OK the rain over the Easter holidays has been killing me and despite having planned lots of activities for the littles to do I did not plan for soooooo much rain. This ultimately led to me attempting baking bread with kids. Well honestly there is only so much Lego anyone can reasonably enjoy. It rained so much on Monday we managed to build this extravaganza:
So yesterday I found myself at 8am with 4 children sick of the sight of the inside of our house and their myriad of toys – what to do? Baking I thought to myself. Now baking with kids is not always my favourite thing to do as it invariably causes huge amounts of mess and the end results can be a bit less than desirable. I was not up for icing related catastrophes yesterday so I decided to go for bread. 4 kids under 6, a controlling mother and lots of flour what could possibly go wrong?
Actually it was just what they needed. It was a fab way to spend the morning as each one of them was able to get involved. Baking bread is in fact really simple and great to do with kids as it can all be done by hand which means they can really get stuck in. You can use mixers or bread makers, but this really takes the fun out of it for little kids and it is perfectly possible for them to do it themselves.
Great things about baking bread with kids:
- Learning opportunity – there is so much learning you can do here. We talked about different measurements for weight whilst using the scale and I also got my eldest doing his fractions whilst working out 1/2 and 1/4 of the ingredients that we needed so everyone could have their own bowl.
- Practical Skills – I think that baking and any cooking helps to teach our little practical life skills. Of course they will be able to nip to a supermarket when they are older and buy a loaf of bread, but surely there is still some value in them knowing how bread is made as part of the where our food comes from part of their knowledge
- Team working – yesterday was national siblings day and this activity was perfect for getting siblings to work together. My boys helped their sisters by measuring ingredients for them and then also helped with rubbing in the butter which the girls found tricky
- It’s fun – they had such a good time and especially loved kneading the bread. As I mentioned I can be a bit controlling when it comes to baking as I want things to look nice, but with bread I could let them go wild as kneading involves bashing that dough about. They thought it was Christmas and were very efficient kneaders. On a day when they couldn’t really get outside all this exuberance and the physicality of their version of kneading meant they got to burn off a bit of energy too
- It takes a while – there is nothing better than an activity with several stages when your littles are stuck inside. When we cleared away the bowls and started shaping the dough it was like another activity completely so they were reengaged. I think the first stage of bread making took around 1 hour as they made and remade their rolls when they weren’t happy with the shapes. We then had to prove it and then went off to do something else for a while before returning to inspect the rolls and see them go into the oven.
- That’s lunch sorted – if you do baking bread with kids in the morning that is also your lunch sorted. You need to get started early so there is enough time to prove and bake, but then its homemade bread and cheese for lunch and they just love having made their own lunch. They have never been so enthusiastic about a sandwich!
- The end result – homemade bread is actually delicious and in my mind there is nothing better than a bit of warm freshly baked bread, butter and cheese. Yum Yum!
If you want to do this activity with your own littles or just on your own then check out this really easy bread recipe.