Guest blog from our newest network member, Mrs Bun the Baker, a qualified food technology teacher providing inspirational fun food classes from 2 year olds to adults. The classes promote healthy and sustainable food, focusing on savoury and vegetarian baking, local flour and reducing food waste.
Freddie Bun is growing up quickly! It makes me reflect on how he was my inspiration behind being Mrs Bun the Baker. Although I have always baked and taught others at school to cook, he made me enthusiastic about getting everyone in the kitchen, whipping up tasty goodies, because I knew he could do it, I knew age didn’t matter. Everyone really CAN cook!
I started teaching my Freddie, when he was 18 months, he helped me in the kitchen, creating his own recipes, with many ingredients! Not always edible, but having fun. Some may think this is too young, I disagree and toddlers would too. Parents, Grandparents and even my husband are amazed at what toddlers create in the #MrsBunTheBaker kitchen. From cheesy biscuits, chicken pies, fruity crumbles, pasta bakes and different types of breads, #toddlers can do it all.
If you start them young, exploring, tasting, messing around with food, it can help the fussiest of eaters sometimes. In my class I keep recipes healthy, the toddlers make lunches for parents to take home.
It’s not just about the food they create; they’re gaining life skills and many other experiences in the kitchen too, which are important for their development.
Interacting with other toddlers in the kitchen, sharing equipment, learning to take turns, such as when they are using the flour shaker. Maths skills: counting their pie lids or number of potatoes needed when making a frittata. Colours of ingredients, whether it is a vegetable or fruit. They’re learning to follow instructions, and concentrate on the task in hand. Tasks are kept short and simple, with variety so there is always something different going on.
The biggest skill I feel though is tapping into their fine motor skills, take making a Broccoli Tart, we rub fat in flour, mix, roll out the pastry, cut out rounds, place them in tins, chop the broccoli, cracking eggs (a BIG favourite, they CAN do it) whisking up those eggs, pouring the mix into cases and carrying them to Mrs Bun the Baker.
You wouldn’t have thought that there were so many skills in the dish and all with their hands, creating strength and dexterity, which is invaluable for them. It means a good hand, eye coordination and muscle strength, all of which they need later to write, draw and even turn on a light switch! They then want to practice at home, toddler’s love using scissors and knives (toddler friendly of course).
Overall though they have so much fun and are proud of their makes. Taking it home to show off what they have made, and why not. I’ve always said everyone can cook, each one looks a little different, more tomato in one, chunkier vegetables, different cutter, but at the end, it is their creation, they made it and they ooze confidence. Watching toddlers who stay for a while, growing in independence, dexterity, confidence and saying ‘No Mummy, I can do it’ is a proud moment for me too.