- One way or another, the littles are going to eat sweets while you’re baking, so accept it. Put some Smarties, chocolate chips or other little treats in a small bowl that’s just for snacking—it’ll keep them from swiping raw cookie dough (hopefully), and you can avoid the “But I want sooome!” meltdown.
- A stand mixer is worth its weight in gold. It ensures the mixing bowl stays in place, avoiding any spectacular spills. And it’s one less thing to keep your hands on when the kids are getting into everything.
Get all mixed up with the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer in Gloss Cinnamon. $550, sears.ca
- Measuring can be hard (and messy) for kids. Pre-measure ingredients for little ones so they can do the best part: dumping them in. Let bigger kids crack eggs into small bowls—it makes do-overs (and picking out eggshells) easy peasy.
- Baking is always better with a soundtrack. Set the scene with a festive holiday playlist of all your kids’ faves, or search for a family-friendly playlist on a music streaming service like Spotify.
- The best part of holiday baking? Cutting cookies into gingerbread people, Christmas trees or menorahs. Large plastic cutters with fewer fine details and broad, flat tops or handles are easiest for little hands to press into dough.
Get cutting with the Williams Sonoma stainless steel cookie cutters. $3 each, williams-sonoma.com
- Is your kid the Tasmanian Devil when it comes to helping? Slow things down and focus his attention by having him read the recipe to you or getting him to gather the ingredients, list in hand. (Bonus: Reading practice!)
- Every baker needs tools, and special ones just for kids will help them feel like an important part of the process. A festive apron makes baking a tradition—and saves your kiddo’s shirt from spills, too.
Dress like a holiday chef with the Santa Apron. $24, potterybarnkids.com
- When you’re forming cookie dough into balls, it can be tough for kids (and, um, some adults) to make them all the same size—essential for even baking. A simple trick: A small ice cream scoop is perfect for turning out consistent, bakery-style cookies.
- Kids love to help move the cookies from the baking sheet to a cooling rack, but little hands manoeuvering a spatula leads to sad, broken cookies. Avoid a cookie catastrophe with a non-stick rimless pan that will make it simple for your little one to just nudge their baked goods off with a spatula.
Place your cookies on the T-FAL 3-PACK cookie sheet, $40 sears.ca
- In the wise words of Elsa, “Let it go! Let it go!” There will be dropped eggs, flour dust-ups and wobbly icing. Accept the mess along with the delightfully imperfect results, and everyone will have more fun.