Baking with a two year old, Montessori style…

I had a lovely morning with Alice on Tuesday. It was relaxed but also engaging as I find she does better when there are activities planned that she can do at her own pace.

She has shown lots of interest in cooking recently. We’ve always cooked and baked lots as a family but she rarely gets to do it herself and is often upstaged by her brother. She has enjoyed watching ‘My World Kitchen’ on CBeebies and has been pretending to cook.

Whilst she was having her snack and settled I set up the ingredients she needed to make banana cake. I chose that because we had three over ripe bananas on the side and the banana cake recipe we have is foolproof (unless you read the measurements wrong and not put enough flour in- which I did once…). It is in one of my favourite recipe books ‘Five O’Clock Apron’ by Clare Thompson.

I weighed everything out and put into containers for her to pour in, melted the butter but left the bananas and egg for her to do herself.

She came to the table very excited. I helped her preheat the oven and she washed her hands and put on her apron.

Then she worked her way through the ingredients. Tipped them into the bowl and stirred, peeled and squeezed in the banana and cracked in the egg. She was in her element and I sat back and watched (whilst taking the occasional photo after she said I could). She seemed very content and it was nice for her to cook something that was totally hers and without an adult hovering over her shoulder telling her what to do next or feeling the need to ‘help’.

I felt relaxed too. It was hers. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t mixed in well enough or that the bicarb went in before the flour it was purely the process rather than the outcome.

She wanted to put it in the oven once it was all mixed and got off her chair to get the oven gloves. I had to help her as she wasn’t tall enough to get it in safely. She then crouched down and watched it for a few minutes before skipping back to her chair in her pink skirt and boat trousers.

We then had an obligatory spoon lick and she suggested we tidied up. This doesn’t come naturally to Alice. Joseph was cleaning at 6 months, Alice not so much. But we rolled with it and she cleaned up the table and ‘loaded’ the bowl and utensils into the dishwasher.

The banana bread itself was tasty and I didn’t take a photo of it because it wasn’t really about the end result. She had such a good time and took ownership of the baking. It is definitely how we are going to attempt cooking and baking in the future. Thanks Montessori 🙂

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