I recently taught my daughter’s class (all 30 of them) to decorate cupcakes as an end of term treat. It wasn’t the heart attack-inducing experience I thought it would be and I am constantly amazed at how engaged and creative the children become when they’re given something they like. Even the two naughtiest boys in the class were probably two of the most captivated with one of them even coming up and hugging my assistant to thank her at the end of it all!
It’s one of the many reasons why I think getting children hooked on baking and cake decorating isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it offers up all sorts of benefits beyond something tasty to eat at the end of it all.
- It develops creativity
One of the things I enjoy most about teaching children is their ability to take an idea and let their imagination run wild. If I teach adults they’ll normally do their best to copy as perfectly as possible the designs that we have shown them. Children, on the other hand, don’t generally bother with set designs – they simply go off and create their own. I am constantly amazed at the imagination and initiative they show in the creations they come up with and I think there’s nothing better than letting them have free rein to do what they want in the context of a decorating class.
- It keeps them occupied
It’s a constant battle trying to keep kids entertained, especially in the holidays. But a kids’ cake decorating class can really keep them engaged and out of your hair. Children tend to really concentrate and get involved when it’s something they enjoy and cake decorating is no different. I have had some of the most unruly children sit patiently decorating their cupcakes for hours because it’s something they really like.
- It’s sociable
Kids’ cake decorating is a great way to get children interacting with their peers on a face-to-face basis and, more importantly, get them off their electronic devices. I think most parents would agree that children today spend too much time staring at screens. But decorating harks back to a more innocent time and is a wonderful way of getting them doing something artistic, creative, physical and educational.
- It builds confidence
There is something particularly lovely about seeing children’s faces when they’ve created something on their own with little or no help from a grown up. Cake decorating can help them develop a sense of pride in their work because it can push them out of their comfort zone and to do something they’ve not done before.
- It helps develop fine motor skills
Working with icing can help younger children develop their fine motor skills. In older children it can hone those very same skills, building their co-ordination, precision and attention to detail. Holding a piping bag, cutting out fondant flowers or modelling a worm, for example, will all help to develop craft skills that can be used with many different mediums.
Cake decorating can involve quite intricate work at times and children soon learn how to master the different techniques and mould them to their own designs.
- It can educate them
Kids’ cake decorating isn’t just for fun, the children will learn a bit about kitchen safety, where some of their food comes from and why certain ingredients are put together and used in a certain way.
By giving them a hands-on experience they will learn how to use ovens, mixers, knives and other utensils safely, how to mix basic recipes and experiment with their own which is great for numeracy, and why certain foodstuffs are put together, for example, why we use baking powder with plain flour and why we beat the butter and sugar together until it’s super fluffy.
It covers a bit of art, science, maths and English but most importantly it’s fun. Your children won’t even realise their learning at the same time and what could be better than that?!