We receive Parents.com Family Fun magazine and my son enjoys looking through it each month. In this past issue, he found the “treat of the month” called deep-sea sweets (for the recipe and instructions, click here). Basically, you bake cupcakes and then create an octopus with a jumbo gum drop and 8 gummy worms.
I was able to use the cupcakes as a motivator (clean you room and we can make them). It worked like a charm!
I decided to turn our cupcake baking into a learning experience!
So what can a 5 year old learn from baking cupcakes?
- Decision making and comprehension: He brought his magazine to the grocery store and was able to figure out ingredients needed by looking at the picture.
- Following directions: I read the instructions aloud and he followed the steps.
- Number and word recognition: He preheated the oven on his own. I spelled the word “BAKE” and he had to find it on the keypad, then he punched in the numbers for 350 as well as the word “START”.
- Measuring: He measured ingredients with various measuring cups.
- Hand eye coordination: He had to be steady separating egg whites and dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl.
- Math: He counted the eggs we would be cracking. Once he’d add an egg white to the mixing bowl, I would ask how many more we needed to complete our recipe. He was adding and subtracting and didn’t even realize it! (e.g. “we need 4 egg whites to make our cupcakes, how many more do we need to add”). He also had to count out 12 cupcake tins so we could fill them and 8 legs for his octopus.
- Substituting ingredients: Instead of using oil in our recipe, we opted for applesauce to make our snack a little healthier.
- Clean-up is part of the process: He licked the batter bowl clean then helped me load the dishwasher.
- Patience: He had to wait for the cupcakes to bake and cool before decorating (decorating was the part he was most excited about).
- Creativity: He was able to use his imagination and decorate his cupcake.
The most important lesson…learning can be fun! He now knows the process involved in making cupcakes and the importance of following directions in order.