There’s something special about bread. It may be its universal nature, found in different forms all around the world. Ann Morris’ book, Bread, Bread, Bread takes a fantastic around the world photo journey examining bread throughout a variety of cultures. (It’s a great book I would strongly recommend as part of a food unit like the one I outline over here.)
Maybe it’s the tie to my childhood memories. I can vividly remember the smell of fresh bread greeting my nose before I even opened our screen door, as my mom busily baked her regular batch of fourteen loaves.
Or perhaps it’s just that I’ve got a thing for eating that warm, squishy stuff.
But baking bread is not just good for the belly. It’s a great activity for teaching preschoolers all kinds of skills.
This article from NAEYC outlines a litany of developmental objectives and how they can be encouraged through a bread baking activity. (It also includes a recipe for baking bread with kids that you mix right in a bag. How fun is that?)
It’s clear that baking bread gives kids a sensory experience, math experience, language experience, and science…..ah science! As if the changing properties from dry to wet, from dough to bread wasn’t enough, there’s the yeast. Whenever I bake bread with little ones, I love to leave a bit of yeast in warm water with a bunch of sugar just sitting on the counter as we work through the recipe so they can see what those little pearls of yeast can do over time.
Time. That’s the other great benefit of baking bread with the littles. It’s the time you spend together. It’s the time that you put into a project that creates something new. It not only builds an understanding of process, but it builds connections and memories.
In addition to the bread recipe in the NAEYC article above, here are a few others you might want to try:
Kara Fleck bakes bread with her brood here at Simple Kids.
If you have tight time constraints, try this perfect pretzel recipe instead. It uses yeast, but doesn’t take the time to rise.
Making dinner rolls for Thanksgiving? This is my favorite, go-to roll recipe, shared by I Heart Naptime.
For more on how kids benefit from their time in the kitchen with you, check out Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah.
What’s your favorite bread recipe to bake with kids?
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