The kids are getting older to the point of doing more things to help out in the kitchen. This has given them a sense of empowerment and joy in cooking and baking. For this baking experience, one needed to distribute 24 baking cups into the cupcake baking tins. This task was for my little one to do, to give her a chance to practice on her counting. The other child was given the responsibility of measuring the ingredients and placing them in the bowl. Then there was mixing and distributing the mixture into the cupcake holders, my other child. 🙂
When it was time to distribute the mixture into the cupcake holders, we needed to talk about how much to fill the holder. If it was filled to the top, the cupcake would overflow when baking. If filled to little, then it might over baker, or burn. So we decided to fill it up about halfway. That worked. 🙂 We also filled some a third of the way and that worked as well, but we needed to keep an eye on them to prevent over baking.
After putting everything into the oven, waiting for them to bake, and letting them cool, it was time to decorate. Each child was able to decorate given the icing, sprinkles, and their own different piping tips with icing bags to use too! Before they were able to begin decorating, they needed to figure out how many cupcakes each would have equally if there are 24 to distribute. To help my little one figure it out, the two older ones distributed one cupcake at a time to each other until there were no more to distribute. So the result was that each have 8 cupcakes to decorate any way they wanted. We did this outside to make clean up easier. 🙂 It was a good day!
Something To Think About:
Giving each child a task to do for a single project, like baking, gives them an opportunity to contribute. The task does not need to be daunting, or feel like they are in a lecture about Mathematics. When you cook, bake, or do a project together, point out the math they are doing and ask them if they were having fun doing it! For a bit of advice, do no more than pointing out three to four things they are doing in math. For kids, they want to experience things too. 🙂
In baking, I point out the importance of following the directions because it is an exact science. Baking, in my opinion, does not have many allowances to veer off the path because you are working in an area of chemistry. There are substitutions, but you need to research those substitutions, or you may get goop or a something as hard as a rock for your result.
The ingredients, whether dry, or wet, need to be added a certain way in order to react properly. Over mixing can cause too much air to be added to the batter and may not come out right in the oven. There is a difference between baking powder and baking soda, but both are chemical agents to help the batter to rise.
There also is working with expansion when heat, from the oven, is applied to the mixture. That is why it is so important to talk to the children about how much mixture should be put into the cupcake holder. Describe how much batter should be added by using what fraction of the cupcake holder should be filled.
Baking might be looked at such a trivial task to do and not so complicated, but it is really a great math and science project talking about how each ingredient plays an important part. As always, enjoy what you are doing so that the children enjoy also. The more experiences we are given in working with mathematics, the less intimidating it will become in the future. My goal is to create a space where mathematics is not for the chosen few to understand, but to make it accessible for all to be successful in because it is that important and beautiful! :). Enjoy!