Liam has been asking to bring blueberry muffins to school for snack so this morning we, or more accurately Liam, made some. He is very comfortable in the kitchen and now that his reading skills are improving he is becoming much more independent. I had him start by reading the recipe, even though we have made these muffins hundred of times, and then begin pulling the ingredients. He is still not consistent with his measuring, so I did supervise with that and with using the mixer. Being 5 he like to turn the mixer on high especially right after the flour has been added. He has also been asking what would happen if the spatula was in the bowl when the mixer was turned on, and yesterday we had a long discussion about fingers and the beater, so there is a lot of curiosity, and I'm a little worried about unsupervised experimentation in this area. After Liam had everything measured out we began mixing. I supervised, but let him decide when the ingredients were mixed enough and when to continue. As I said he likes the mixer so he over mixed slightly, and the muffins were a little rubbery, but for the first solo attempt by a 5 year old they were fabulous!
Like always the kitchen was a complete mess when we finished. We still have a long way to go before the "clean as you go" concept is fully implemented, at this point I would be happy with any cleaning before or after. But I would rather the kids build their love of cooking and not have it squished by getting to focused on the cleaning part.
This is the reciepe we used. It isn't very flavorful, but that is part of why I like to use it with kids. Because it is very straight forward without a lot of "extra" ingredients - ie nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon- that can be confusing and overwhelming to young bakers. I also like it because there is a lot of opportunities to practice math skills. You can measure out all the ingredients using only the 1/4 measuring cup and teaspoon or you can use just the 1/4 and 1/2 measuring cup and teaspoon. It makes it a fun challenge for older kids.