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The Child's Culinary Arts! Let's Bake: Montessori Style!

BAKING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN IS DELICIOUSLY MESSY, EVEN IN THE MONTESSORI ROOM! 


All photos in the post are by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company 
unless otherwise stated

I first began baking with little children, when my first child was a toddler and I've loved it ever since! All of my own children grew up to be good cooks, too. Nowadays I bake with my grandchildren!

When cooking with little ones, you can just expect a mess! This is definitely part of the fun, but I prefer to have some procedures in place that make the experience fun, productive, and inspiring without being frustrating, unsuccessful, or tiring.

There are a few things that really contribute to a successful experience for your child/ren in the baking department. 

  • Sink or hand-washing station located near by
  • Child-size cloth aprons reserved just for food activities
  • Individual step-by-step picture cards for the recipe process
  • All ingredients pre-organized
  • All utensils & tools pre-organized
  • Expect some mess in the fun!
In addition to the above, FOR A GROUP SETTING, I HAVE FOUND THE FOLLOWING INVALUABLE!



  • In the Montessori-style environment, each child works on an INDIVIDUAL MAT WITH ALL THE NECESSARY TOOLS  right there on the mat. At times, I have provided a cutting board instead of a mat, especially when the child needs to cut veggies or use a rolling pin.
  • With baking projects, I prefer that each CHILD MOVES FROM MAT TO MAT rather than working at one mat throughout the activity 
  • Each child begins with HIS/HER OWN MIXING BOWL and takes it along from step to step
  • Set the mats up so that the child moves in a LEFT TO RIGHT PROGRESSION through the steps of the recipe
I got my card holders at an office supply store, but I did find these on-line. Table stand/card holder available at this link: Montessori Services acrylic photo holder

  • Each INDIVIDUAL RECIPE CARD is placed inside a small acrylic table stand/CARDHOLDER (4"x6" or 5"x7") THE FIRST SIGN READS: WASH HANDS
  • Each CARD IS PLACED IN FRONT OF EACH MAT along with the tools FOR THAT STEP of the recipe.


  • Provide an INDIVIDUAL CHILD-SIZE MIXING BOWL & SPOON FOR EACH CHILD.
  • I always place the WASH HANDS sign in FRONT OF THE FIRST MAT which has the COOKING APRON, THE BOWL, & THE SPOON waiting for each child. 
  • In a class setting, I have found that LIMITING THIS ACTIVITY TO 3 or 4 CHILDREN AT A TIME works best. It moves along fairly quickly and we've always had time for a group of 24 children to finish their cooking (and eating!) during a single morning (or afternoon) 2 hour work period.

  • I started out with this set of COOKIN' CARDS for children and they are very helpful: Cookin' Cards at Montessori Services. First, I CUT THE CARDS DOWN TO THE SIZE OF MY ACRYLIC CARD HOLDERS. Later, I made my own recipe cards to add to the Cookin' Cards collection of recipes (which I found really nice, by the way)


    • This is a great time to MAKE USE OF ALL THE PARENT VOLUNTEERS who enjoy joining the classroom occasionally to help out. Cooking projects always benefit from an extra set of hands!




    Take a look at all the SKILLS CHILDREN ARE BUILDING THROUGH COOKING experiences set up this way!

    READING & PRE-READING


    MEASURING & PRE-MATH






    FINE MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

    LEARNING THE ART OF BAKING!


    For the baking project pictured in this article, we used gingerbread cookie dough already prepared. You can buy it or prepare it ahead of time. It works best if it is refrigerated for 24 hours. 

    If your group has the time, you could make the dough on one day and then refrigerate it overnight to complete the cookies the next day. 

    To make the dough in this Montessori-style set up, you would prepare cooking cards for each child to mix up enough dough for one gingerbread person. 
    Rough Example of approximate amounts FOR ONE COOKIE: 
          1TBS butter
          1 TBS light brown sugar
          1 TSP molasses
          1/3 cup flour
          1/8 tsp ground ginger
          1/8 tsp baking soda
          1/8 tsp salt
          1/8 tsp water
    Here's the link to a recipe for making a dozen cookies, so you can estimate how much for making one cookie by roughly dividing it by twelve: Food Network Gingerbread Man Recipe.

    Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club 

    All of the above photos of children using recipe cards for preparing gingerbread people to bake show CHILDREN CLOSELY SUPERVISED AT ALL TIMES. AND, THE CHILDREN DID NOT DO THE ACTUAL BAKING. 

    Only the ADULTS IN OUR ENVIRONMENT HANDLED THE OVEN AND THE ACTUAL PUTTING IN & TAKING OUT OF THE COOKIES IN THE OVEN. 

    Over the years, I have used counter top toaster ovens, a portable convection oven, and a full-sized oven in a real kitchen. All work just fine for baking with children.You might enjoy browsing my Amazon Shop: "Cooking with Kids". Here's the link: My Favorites At Amazon Shop.

    This post is part of the Monday Link-up at Living Montessori Now where you'll find dozens of articles from Montessori bloggers all over the world. Check it out at this link: Montessori Monday Link-Up at Living Montessori Now.

    I am so happy to have you visit my blog! Hope you enjoy baking with your little ones as much as I do!  

    Advertising Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. (At no cost to you) If/when you make a purchase at one of my links, I receive compensation. Thanks for your support!
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    3 comments:

    1. Hi there! Thanks for the helpful post. I just acquired some Cookin Cards and I was wondering what kind of container you store them in. Thanks in advance!

      ReplyDelete
    2. Hi there! Thanks for the helpful post. I just acquired some Cookin Cards and I was wondering what kind of container you store them in. Thanks in advance!

      ReplyDelete
    3. Hi Tamara, I really like Cookin Cards. Okay, the way that I store all this is in a big storage bin. I have the cards in a large folding file folder. Then I keep all the bowls, utensils, clear plastic stands for the cookie cards, pot holders, and just everything I use with the recipes so that I have it easily ready for use when we do cooking.

      ReplyDelete

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