8 Easy Baking Activities to Try with Your Toddler

The idea of baking with your toddler may seem pretty overwhelming. For starters, it’s a guaranteed mess.

And the younger your child is, the more hands-on you’ll need to be throughout the process.

Although baking with kids comes with its challenges, it can turn out to be a great time once you enjoy the finished product.

Aside from creating new memories and delicious treats, interacting with food is one way to improve your toddler's development. Depending on the recipe, baking calls for many different ingredients. This promotes texture play as your child touches and combines ingredients together.

So what is texture play and why is it important?

It’s no secret that children learn through a variety of activities.

One of the best ways for language and motor development is to encourage sensory play by having them explore objects through touch. Sensory play is great for children ages 0-3 because their brains develop at a quicker rate during this time.

Through baking, they’ll discover different textures and become familiar with how something feels if it’s sticky, fluffy, smooth, wet, or prickly.

Even if they can’t tell you exactly what they’re feeling, you’ll be able to see their eyes light up as they explore. If they don’t enjoy certain textures, this will be apparent as well.

Before you begin baking, it’s best to gather everything you’ll need and get set up in a space you don’t mind cleaning afterward. The best environment to bake in is typically the kitchen. It allows for easy cleanup and gives you and your little one breathing room to get messy while baking and learning.

Another way to make baking easier with your toddler is to sit them in their highchair while mixing everything together. This will keep them in one place as you guide them through the recipe. Using a placement mat on their highchair tray can also help keep the ingredients in one place and off the floor.

If your child no longer uses a highchair, or just doesn't feel up to sitting in one, the placement mat can be used on a flat surface like a table or kitchen counter.

If you’re not sure which recipe to try, here are a few easy ones that are great to do on our Busy Baby Toddler Mat.

  1. Cookies - This shortbread cookie recipe is so easy that it only has three ingredients! Butter, flour, and icing sugar are all you’ll need to create this simply delicious dessert. While mixing everything together, encourage texture play by letting your child knead the dough. You can also explore shapes and textures by using cookie cutters and decorating them using icing.
  2. Rocky Road Cookie Cups - This yummy recipe is full of four different ingredients, with four very unique textures. Turn on the oven and get your baking pan ready, as you and your toddler mix chocolate chip cookie dough, semi-sweet chocolate chips, sliced almonds, and mini marshmallows.
  3. Rice Krispy Treats - While you can go to your local grocery store and easily grab a box of this classic treat, store-bought Rice Krispies are filled with a lot more sugar and ingredients that aren’t nutritional for kids. Making them at home is a healthy alternative that also allows you to put your own spin on taste by adding whatever you’d like. The primary ingredients are honey, rice bubbles, coconut oil, and sprinkles. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also add any other small candy like M&M’s, chocolate chips, candy corn, candy canes, and more!
  4. Frosted Doughnuts - We don’t know too many kids (or adults) who don’t love a good doughnut. Although this recipe is a bit more involved, it’s sure to be a hit at home! You can also add vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry glaze, depending on your toddler's flavor preference.
  5. Mini Cinnamon Buns - If you don’t mind making a store run before your baking extravaganza begins, grab a tube of crescent roll dough from the baking aisle to make this dessert quick and easy. This recipe also calls for unsalted butter, ground cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  6. Jam Tarts - These tarts are so simple that it’s perfect for toddlers who want to be more independent in the kitchen. For this one, all you’ll need is all-purpose flour, shortening, white sugar, salt, jam, and water.
  7. No-Bake Energy Balls - Even though we’re sharing our favorite baking recipes, we couldn’t skip sharing this simple no-bake recipe! It’s a hit with kids and adults and involves many unique textures your little one may not be familiar with. All you’ll need old fashioned oats, peanut butter, ground flax seed, chocolate chips, honey, vanilla extract, and chia seeds—if your family enjoys them.
  8. Yogurt Parfait - This recipe may be too simple…but we’re certain that’s a good thing when you’ve got a busy baby on your hands! This tasty dessert calls for 2 cups of vanilla yogurt, 1 cup of granola, and a hand full of blackberries or strawberries. You can mix it up by adding other fruits like peaches or kiwi as well.

If you don’t think your busy baby is ready for texture play using actual food, try a test run. You can create fake desserts using playdough. If you want to take it one step further, you can make the actual playdough too!

Whichever recipe you try, keep it simple–especially for younger bakers who are just starting out.

We hope that spending time baking these delectable treats at home creates special moments for you and your family this season. And we’d love to see some of the recipes you try while using our Busy Baby Mat! Tag us @busybaymat to share your baking fun with us!

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