Whether it's your grandkids, the neighbor girl or a niece or nephew who lives in town, most of us know a child who would love to help bake some simple sweet treats for the holidays. Baking with a young person is both fun and the perfect setting in which to get to know one another. This week I'm sharing three holiday treats to make with the young person in your life. And just so it goes well, I've included 10 do's and don'ts to read first.
1. Do choose an age-appropriate project. With adult supervision the recipes here — Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bark, Peppermint Kiss Cookies and Crispy Rice Ornaments — work for all ages.
2. Don't start complex, multistep projects from scratch. With holiday cookies, for example, have the dough made. For younger children, have the cookies baked and ready to decorate.
3. Do consider shopping for some of the ingredients together. It's a great way to get the conversation going and to make young people feel part of the decision-making.
4. Do offer a healthy savory snack such as raw veggies and dip, or cheese and crackers to prevent too much sugar consumption.
5. Do spread the work area with newspaper, keeping cleanup to a minimum.
6. Don't do it for them. Empower them, instead. You're their cheerleader!
7. Do head out for a short walk while the cookies set or the bars cool — another way to keep the conversation going.
8. Do include them in cleanup — that's part of the learning experience.
9. Do let them take the treats home — make sure to have the right container for packaging them.
10. Do take pictures of the day and email the photos to the kids or to their parents.
I share these tips from my successes and failures, but apparently I'm a quick learner. My adult daughters still like to bake with me, and baking with Aunt Pam at the Anderson family reunion has become a yearly ritual we all look forward to. Over the years I've learned that it's mostly about letting them shine, and who among us doesn't like that!
Next page: Chocolate-peanut butter bark. »