Skip to Content

Tips for Baking with Kids

Picture of a little boy peering into a mixing bowl

Maybe you want to create holiday baking traditions with your little humans. Maybe you need something to do on this, the 3,829,106 day of staying at home. Maybe you’re going to spend quality time with a niece, nephew, or a friend’s little one. No matter the reason you’re breaking out the butter, sugar, and mixing bowl, these tips for baking with kids will help you enjoy the experience and hopefully even want to do it again!

I’ve included a list of kid-friendly baking recipes at the bottom of this post to give you some quick and easy ideas. But using an old family recipe, or something that you love baking and are familiar with is also a great option!

A Picture of a little boy and a mixer

Tips for Baking with Kids

  • Play to your audience! Make a simple recipe that kids are familiar with and love. There’s a list of recipes below with some ideas that are sure to be kid-and-crowd pleasers.
  • Decide what steps you need to do in the recipe, and what you can allow a child to do. (see the section below for things kids can do easily)
  • Start creating good habits right away! Things like washing hands and not licking spoons are foreign concepts to kids who aren’t familiar with cooking and baking. Also learning which foods aren’t appropriate to eat raw is an important lesson.
  • Talk through what you’re doing and why as you move through each step of the recipe. A friend who’s also a teacher said that education specialists recommend baking as an activity because it teaches your children sequencing, counting, and coordination skills.
  • If it’s appropriate, allow the child to take charge. A young reader might get excited about sounding out the next step and giving directions. A little person would love sharing their opinion on if your cake needs more sprinkles (the answer will always be yes).
  • Choosing something to decorate is always going to be a crowd pleaser. And kids who are able to follow directions (think 3 and up) should be able to do things like squeeze a piping bag or use a spoon to spread frosting.
  • When possible and safe, allow snitching. It will solidify your status as cool parent/aunt/uncle/friend. And a little finger swipe less of frosting won’t hurt any of the cupcakes, you know?
  • If you’re baking with someone else’s child, ask about any allergies they may have before starting.
  • If you’re a generally neat, orderly person, accept that there will probably be a mess to clean up. But tiny smiles and happy voices make it worth it, I promise.
A little boy turning the mixer off--letting kids turn on switches is a great tip for baking with kids!

Things Kids can Help With

  • Pushing buttons and flipping switches! Let the kiddo(s) run the appliances like mixers when it’s appropriate. And of course, always supervise.
  • Picking a recipe is possibly one of the best parts! Give a couple of options that you’re interested in and have the ingredients for (taking kids to the store is a lot of work. Avoid it if you can. ;).
  • Gently tapping eggs on the counter to crack them is generally a lot of fun for a little tyke. Just coach the tapping so you don’t have a smashed egg, then you can split them into a bowl. Allow the child to dump the eggs from the bowl into the dough or batter you’re making.
  • My boys and I have a method we call “Scoop and Dump.” I scoop the ingredient (say flour) into the measuring cup, and they get to dump it into the mixing bowl. This is a good way to split steps up and take turns if you have more than one kiddo working with you.
  • If you have an elementary school-aged child working with you, make it math! But like, fun math. Baking with a scale can be a great way to work on higher/lower numbers (e.g., we need 140 grams of flour. Is there more or less than that in the bowl? or something like that). Or have them count the number of cups/tablespoons/eggs needed for the recipe.
  • Occasionally, it’s appropriate to start introducing more advanced techniques like knife skills. For example, my six-year-old is allowed to chop bars of chocolate for cookies as long as I’m right there, coaching, teaching, and making sure he’s not chopping off any fingers. This child’s knife is also a great option for soft foods like strawberries or bananas.
Allowing chocolate snitching is one tip for baking with kids. They'll love you forever!
Allowing chocolate snitching is one tip for baking with kids. They'll love you forever!
A little boy enjoying his treat after helping with some baking
…gone. When did you last enjoy food that much?

Great Recipes to Make with Kids

These recipes are varying degrees of simple (meaning you won’t have to break a sweat over anything but chasing kids). Basically, if you’re wondering “what can I bake with a toddler?” I’ve got you covered here! I’ve also indicated which are allergen friendly.

Simple Cookie, Brownie, and Bite Recipes

Cutout Cookies {all nut free}

Cakes, Cupcakes, and Donuts

Do you have any tips, tricks, or favorite recipes for baking with kids? Share them in the comments below!

A post of tips for baking with kids