Baking with children

Julia Finke grew up at Ballybrado in times of near food self-sufficiency. She is a qualified chef and worked in this capacity in Switzerland, Jordan and Ireland. Since finishing her studies of Culinary Arts at Cork CIT she is back at Ballybrado and today looks after product development.

"Involving children in baking is very important, as quality time is spent together to achieve a certain result, like a cake or dessert for example, but not just that, you will teach your children much more than you may think like pouring, measuring, weighing, whisking, rolling and simple mathematics such as adding and subtracting and all sorts of other baking techniques that are used .It also teaches your children the importance of good nutrition and you should encourage them to taste new foods to develop their taste buds. Baking with children can channel the children’s natural curiosity as many foods or fruits change in colour, size texture when baked."


Most of all it gives children a sense of pride and achievement when these baked creations can be enjoyed by friends and family.

These skills that our children learn in the kitchen are skills for life which means that they will never be dependant on third parties that produce ready meals and are basically told what to eat by the food producers who are more interested in making money than our children’s nutrition.

Involving children in baking and cooking is sowing a seed for change, a gift for life. So why not start making a change now?"


Where to start

  • Introduce children into the kitchen slowly by showing them where utensils are or by asking them to fetch utensils for you while you’re baking and by making them aware of potential danger in the kitchen.
  • Ask them to stir something for you
  • Use very easy recipes to begin with.
  • Show them how to use appliances but stay with them to supervise until you are happy that they know exactly what buttons do what.

Steps for baking

  • Gather all ingredients and weigh them out to avoid running all over the place for things.
  • Follow recipe exactly.
  • Tie up children’s hair & make them ware an apron.
  • Teach them to clean as you go.
  • Never leave knives in a sink with water as there is danger that someone else will reach in and cut their hands.
  • Clean up spills straight away to avoid slippery floors or worktops.
  • Turn off appliances after use.
  • Have pot holders ready to pull hot pots onto from cooker.
  • Have oven mitts available.
  • Always put pot handles facing towards the centre of the cooker to avoid someone brushing against it and spilling boiling water or other liquids over themselves. This may cause serious burns.

Age 6 upwards

  • Sifting flour & scooping sugar
  • Learning names of ingredients
  • Decorating cookies and cakes
  • Learning names of utensils
  • Spreading soft ingredients such as butter or jam with a blunt knife
  • How to clean tables and counters.



Once all these tasks are easy for the child to do you can bring them onto the more challenging tasks like

  • Measuring ingredients
  • Mixing and stirring
  • Taking out the correct ingredients for a specific recipe
  • Reading a recipe to you.
When all these tasks come easy to the child try moving them onto using utensils like knives for chopping or topping fruit and a peeler for peeling fruit. Get the child to stir sauces on the stove. These should always be carried out under supervision.



Teenage years

  • Show them how to use electric mixers, blenders
  • Bake things like cakes, muffins and cookies
  • Crack eggshells
  • Show them how to multitask





  • Use dry oven gloves
  • Use wooden spoons instead of metal spoons
  • Use aprons and cover up clothes
  • Show them what to do in the event of a fire.
  • Get plastic drop cloth for under the table
  • Use unbreakable bowls
  • Decorate some cookies yourself to provide inspiration.