There are many ways to be creative. We often think of art projects for children’s creative activities, but cooking and baking are creative arts too.
Children too young to read can assist parents by helping to add ingredients. Parents can support this helping behavior by pre-measuring ingredients and coaching their child when to add and how to stir. Final touches, like decorating cookies, can be done with children as young as 2 years old.
Children who are old enough to read can be taught how to read a recipe and follow directions. When I first started baking with my niece, I taught her to read the entire recipe first, before starting, to ensure that everything made sense. Then I taught her to assemble the ingredients and cooking tools (measuring cups and spoons) as the next step. Using a recipe is a great way to teach children the important of reading for understanding and following directions.
Parents of young children will need to supervise knife use, and the use of the burners and/or oven.
By the time my niece was 8 she was baking her own bread—she made me an awesome “chocolate bread” from a recipe she made up! Dad helped her a bit with proportions but she had learned the steps and techniques so that she could do most of it on her own!
Here is a link to a website where chefs with children recommend cookbooks for children: http://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-cookbooks-for-kids.html