As adults dealing with stress on a daily basis, many of us see children as carefree creatures whose only worry is playing with their mates. But stress can affect the little ones too. Baking doesn’t only give you an opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones, several studies have shown that children with cooking skills have greater mental well-being. With this in mind, we’ve got some easy, fun stress-busting baking recipes for kids to try with your family.
Aiming to highlight the importance of mental health in children and young adults, children’s mental health charity Place2Be set up Children’s Mental Health Week 2021. This year’s theme, “Express Yourself,” encourages kids to express themselves in a variety of ways. And what better way to help your kids ward off stress and unleash their creativity than a day of baking?
1. EASY-BAKE VANILLA CUPCAKES
Topping the list of fancy desserts around the world, cupcakes are ridiculously easy to make and allow children to express themselves with colourful icing, sprinkles, or fruit decorations. These vanilla cupcakes are all-round contenders for all ages and work well with all types of toppings, from cake frosting to fruit mousses, sugar icing and even ice cream, allowing kids to express their fantasy in countless ways.
2. DELICIOUS JAM TARTS
Jam tarts are even easier to make than cupcakes and a suitable choice for smaller kids. Even toddlers can have plenty of fun baking them. Depending on your child’s age and time available, you can start with store-bought shortcrust pastry or prepare the pastry yourself. Apart from classic mini tarts filled with the kind of jam you like, invest in a set of biscuit cutters to add some variety and stimulate your kids’ imagination.
3. EASTER GINGER BISCUITS
If you like the idea of biscuits, you can also try these Easter ginger biscuits. Sweet and spicy at the same time, they are super-easy to make. Involve your kids in making the dough and let them cut the favourite biscuit shapes with cutters. Once baked, children can decorate each biscuit with colourful sugar icing. Despite the name, the ginger within makes them a perfect treat for the colder days.
4. M&M FUDGE BROWNIES
M&Ms and brownies all in one? No kid will say no to such a treat. Not to mention the fun they’ll have sprinkling their favourite colour M&Ms in the mix before baking. Use a brownie bonanza tray for the best results; this tray makes it easy to bake 18 individual brownies, each with a delicious outer crust.
5. GLUTEN-FREE BANANA BREAD
Made with rolled oats instead of flour, this banana bread is a true treat for children with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. It is a cinch to make, and kids can decorate it to their heart’s desire with banana slices, walnuts, or even chocolate chips.
6. FANTASY PIZZA
Baking desserts is nice but do your kids prefer savoury treats. If that’s the case, get your kids involved in making a delicious dinner. Pizza is one of the most popular foods worldwide, and the best thing about it is that you can use literally any topping. From vegetables to assortments of cheese and meat, you and your kids can create endless variations. If store-bought pizza base doesn’t appeal to you, making pizza dough requires few ingredients and very little of your time. And if you didn’t know, sweet pizza is also a thing, usually topped with chopped walnuts and Nutella.
7. BANANA OAT FLAPJACKS
Delicious and healthy at the same time, banana oat flapjacks can satisfy your little one’s sweet tooth whilst also making for a great snack or breakfast. They’re also gluten-free and contain only a few calories, a great choice for special dietary requirements.
8. RAINBOW PANCAKES
Pancake Day is just around the corner, and even if pancakes aren’t exactly baked, they are very easy to make! Plus kids love them, and a good frying pan is all you need to make them quickly. To add some fun to the game and let kids express themselves, revamp the classic pancake recipe by simply adding a few drops of food dye to it.
There are two ways to make rainbow pancakes. The first method is to divide the batter into bowls and add a few drops of different coloured food dye to each bowl to create different colours. Alternatively, you can mix various colours into the same bowl to create a marbled effect. Besides letting your child decide which method to use, little ones can also decorate the pancakes with various toppings to boost the fun.
9. CAKE POPS
Vanilla cake mix, frosting, and colourful confetti are all you need for baking delicious cake pops. Kids will surely have lots of fun dipping the cake balls into the frosting pot and sprinkling them with the fancy confectionary.
10. MINI TOAD-IN-THE-HOLE
Beloved by kids and adults alike, mini toad in the hole is an excellent choice for the cold and rainy days. Use pizza dough or puff pastry and dip them in mustard or ketchup once ready. To keep the kids involved throughout the process, bake them in a Piggy Pop silicone mould. Your treats will look like cute little pigs, and you can also use the mould for baking other savoury or sweet things.
With so many inspiring ideas for the Children’s Mental Health Week, all you have to do is choose one and start baking. Or, even better, why not try a different recipe each day to find out which is your children’s favourite? Which baking recipes will your kids try?