Involving kids in the kitchen is not only fun for you and your child, but helps them learn important techniques they’ll need later in their life for cooking and baking. One of the most important techniques kids can learn is how to measure properly. Here are some tips that will make learning how to measure ingredients a fun experience.
Kids of all ages can help in the kitchen, as long as they are doing age appropriate activities. For example, a toddler can help dump ingredients into the bowl, help pat down the brown sugar, and stir. An elementary-aged child can do all of the activities a toddler can do, plus help measure out ingredients and read directions.
Start by showing them the difference between dry measuring cups and a liquid measuring cup, and explaining when you would use each of them. Also, show them measuring spoons (for measuring small amounts). The following are great, basic things that kids should know when learning about cooking & baking.
Always use a dry measuring cup for these ingredients!
Flour, sugar, powdered sugar:
Spoon into measuring cup from container.
Level off any excess with the backside of a butter knife.
Practice measuring flour with this easy mix-in-pan Double Chocolate Snack Cake - perfect for kids to make, because no mixer is required!
Spoon the brown sugar into a measuring cup.
Pack down the top.
You know you’ve done it right when you dump the brown sugar out and it keeps the shape of the measuring cup. Ever wondered why you need to pack the brown sugar? Brown sugar is less dense (lighter) than white sugar, so in order to get the same sweetness of the white sugar, you need to pack the brown sugar.
Baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla
Use measuring spoons, leveling off dry ingredients. Using a measuring spoon for liquids is okay, because it is such a small amount. Make sure not to measure these over the mixing bowl, as it is easy to accidentally pour more extract into a spoon than you actually need.
Practice measuring brown sugar and baking soda with Sweet & Salty Cinnamon Snack Mix.
Butter and margarine are solid fats, and need to be measured using a dry measuring cup. Press the fat into the measuring cup and level the top, using a spoon or rubber spatula. If you are using stick butter or margarine, explain that one normal size stick equals ½ cup. The sticks also have handy lines that mark each 1 tablespoon.
Liquids (Water, milk, half & half, cream)
Set the liquid measuring cup on the counter. Bend down so your eyes are level with the measuring cup. Pour the liquid into the measuring cup until it hits the line that matches the amount you want to measure.
Help kids make an Ice Cream Parlor Chocolate Malt for a special treat.
Sour cream, peanut butter, yogurt
Thick ingredients, such as sour cream, need to be measured in a dry measuring cup, as liquid measuring cups aren’t as accurate. Spoon into a dry measuring cup, making sure there aren’t any air pockets in the cup.
Level off with the back of a butter knife.
Have kids practice this measuring technique with no-bake PB & Jam Bites.
Although eggs don’t technically need to be measured, they should always be cracked into a separate bowl.
This helps to avoid any shell that could fall into the bowl when it is cracked.
Once you have cracked a few eggs in a bowl, make Scrambled Egg Tacos for a fun twist on breakfast for dinner!
These basic measuring guidelines will get your kids excited to be in the kitchen, and help them gain a basic understanding of measuring ingredients. The more time they spend in the kitchen, the more comfortable they will get with cooking and baking.