For the past few years, I have taught baking at Northeast Elementary School in Ithaca, as part of the PTA Enrichment. It is a great idea having parents, teachers and community representatives come to school to offer a whole variety of classes for a rather affordable price. I do it for two main reasons; I want kids to be excited about baking and creating fun and delicious things on their own, and secondly to support the idea of Enrichment and letting kids, who might not be able to go to after school classes, the opportunity to try new things.
Enrichment class is 1 hour and that is VERY challenging in baking. Especially if you are me and want to create REAL things and not take Oreo’s and add sprinkles to them.
I put together 6 week programs that usually include –
1. Bread and braiding – making Challah and other fun braided breads.
3. Pizza – which is always fun and exciting.
5. Cupcakes – piping and decorating.
6. Depends on the season- last week we made witch cupcakes for Halloween with brooms and ghosts…
The tricky part is managing it all in an hour. I usually prepare dough ahead of time and give each child their own chunk of dough to touch, shape and prepare. The children really love making their own treats and even more, the fact that they have something to take home and share.
Many of the children I have worked with over the years have not baked at home. For them, this class is even more important, in my opinion. Kids are amazed by how easy it is to make home-made pizza (click here for my favorite recipe) and how fun it is to work with dough. When I do the pizza class I give the kids a box to take the pizza home, just like delivery but this time, it is hand-made and delivered by them.
Children who bake at home, love sharing stories and it is important for parents to know how meaningful it is for them to bake with their mom, dad or grandparent. It is memories being made, one cookie at a time and it is precious. I always encourage baking and cooking with kids. Have them sit next to you when you prepare a meal, let them ask questions, smell herbs, measure and mix. It is time together that will be remembered. The stories kids tell me in class about aunts and mothers of friends are precious. Baking together is neither expensive nor needs to take longer than time you have available. Start with these fun 1-2-3 and an egg (Recipe here) cookies or pizza and try something new (like this recipe), even just once a month. You will see the excitement and pride it will bring you and your family.
Good luck, and share your stories.