How To Make Baking With Toddlers Easy

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  • Post last modified:February 29, 2024
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Have you wanted to try baking with your child but feel unsure about how well it will go? It can feel a bit daunting to get started which is why I’ve put together my best tips and tricks, including my easy go-to cookie recipe, to make baking with toddlers a breeze.

I have often invited my daughter to join me in the kitchen. What that looks like has changed depending on her age and skill level but we always find a solution to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Benefits of Baking Together

In many cultures food is such an important centre point for family time and celebrations. Inviting your child into this space with you can have a great impact on bonding, family relationships and your child’s sense of belonging. Not only will baking together support your child’s social and emotional development but it will contribute to language, cognitive, and physical development as well.

baking with toddlers

The following is a list of potential learning opportunities for children when baking together. These can vary depending on the age of the child, their developmental level, and the type of activity they are engaging in.

  • Social – Working together, engaging in conversation, turn taking.
  • Emotional – Self-regulation, a sense of belonging for including them in a ‘grown up’ activity.
  • Language – Labelling of ingredients and kitchen tools. Engaging in conversation. Have the recipe available to follow along for exposure to written language.
  • Cognitive – Early STEM concepts such as math skills through measuring ingredients or counting out how many scoops. Exposure to time through setting a timer for baking. Science exposure through mixing ingredients and applying heat to change the state. Following directions. Following a sequence from start to finish.
  • Physical – Strengthening fine and gross motor through scooping, pouring and stirring. Hand-eye coordination. Engaging the senses through smell and taste if safe to do so.

Getting Started

You don’t need to head into the kitchen right away. You can start by introducing books about baking. This can peak your child’s interest and get them curious about baking. Not to mention the additional language benefit. A few of my favourites are

1234 Cake!: A Count-and-Bake Book by Caroline Wright

B is for Brownies: An ABC Baking Book by Caroline Wright

A Little Bit of Love by Cynthia Platt

toddler play kitchen

Pretend play is another way to introduce baking and the various kitchen items that are used. Provide your child with kitchen toys or even real kitchen items to explore and play with. Pretend to bake with your child during their play before trying out the real thing.

8 Tips For Baking With Toddlers

It can feel daunting to think about baking with toddlers, they love getting their hands in everything. It can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t prepare yourself. Here are tips I use with my own child to make the process go smoother.

1. Start Simple

Make a batch of play dough first. My no-cook play dough recipe is quick and easy to make plus it’s easy to adjust if the ingredients are slightly off. If it goes well try a food recipe next. If you find it was too much trouble then wait a month or two and try again. Every child is different and while there are ways to make it easier to bake with children sometimes they just aren’t ready yet and that’s okay. Give it time until they are a bit more developmentally ready.

2. Use A Recipe You Know

It is so much easier with a familiar recipe than trying something new. If you are using a new recipe, read it over fully a couple times before starting. You can even try a new recipe on your own first before inviting your child to join you in order to familiarize yourself with it more.

toddler rolling dough

3. Prepare Ingredients Ahead Of Time

Especially when baking with younger children. It’s easier to prep on your own and then they can help pour and stir. It can be hard for toddlers to wait while you collect and measure ingredients out which may prompt them to start grabbing and pouring whatever is within reach. Prepping ahead of time eliminates this waiting time.

4. Lower Your Expectations and Enjoy The Process

The recipe doesn’t need to be perfect, its okay if it doesn’t turn out. Enjoy this time together with your child and the fulfillment they get from participating. If you are worried about the recipe not turning out this is another great reason to try the recipe ahead of time yourself.

5. Expect A Mess

There will be spills, it’s okay. You cannot expect children who are still learning to pour perfectly. Have towels nearby for spills. You can use this as a learning opportunity to teach your child how to clean up a spill. Have your child wear an apron or old clothes to minimize the mess on themselves. You can even have another activity ready to go for your child when you are done baking. This way you can redirect them to their next activity while you have time to clean up.

baking with children

6. They Don’t Need To Help With Everything

Choose tasks that meet your child’s level of development. They do not need to be involved for the entire process. Start small, perhaps they can be in charge of stirring while you measure and pour everything. They may even come and go throughout the process.

7. Set Up A Separate Work Station For Your Child

Give them their own bowls, some flour, and scoops. Let them do their own work while you make your recipe. Setting them up with play dough is another way for you to work and play beside each other.

8. Let Your Child Play At The Sink

Children love water play. This is a perfect opportunity for some water sensory play with kitchen toys and washing dishes while you work on the recipe. Parallel play (playing beside each other but separately) still allows you the benefits of spending time together while you each do your own thing.

Making The Kitchen a Welcoming Space

Of course the one thing that has made welcoming my child into the kitchen possible is a learning tower. Most kitchen are not built for the comfort and ease of use by a child. Having a learning tower allows you to invite the child into the space for them to participate in a safe manner.

The one I use is similar to this learning tower. While they can be expensive I have found it is definitely worth it if you plan to bake or cook with your child. We use ours daily whether baking, cooking, playing in the sink or at the counter or even just making it easier to wash her hands.

Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Cookies

Recipe by Nicole Hudson


Prep time


Cooking time



This is a recipe we make often. It is a simple recipe for when young children are helping plus the dough needs to chill which provides a break in between.


  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour, sifted

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • Let the egg and maple syrup come to room temperature, takes about 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and egg.
  • Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and combine.
  • Add in the chocolate chips and stir. Put dough in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon out tablespoons of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Press down slightly.
  • Bake for 7 minutes. Push down the top of the cookie with the back of a spatula. Continue baking for another 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan. Enjoy!

Welcoming your child into the kitchen with you has numerous benefits on their development. Although it can be overwhelming at first, especially depending on the age of your child, remember it is not all or nothing. Start small, try different things and find what works for you and your family to make baking together an enjoyable experience.

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