By Arlee Greenwood, Small Potatoes
Oct 30, 2015
Baking and kids. Those two words together can make a grown adult shudder. Am I right? Just think of the mess! The chaos!
But really, baking is one activity that touches on so many aspects of early childhood curriculum.
Children practice cooperation skills, taking turns, weights and volumes, fractions, adding, subtracting, division, fine motor skills, problem solving, colour recognition, one to one correspondence, biology (once you crack that egg, you'll always have a question from someone), prediction, sensory exploration and patience.
The list is extensive—it's tough to find another everyday activity that covers so much in the way of learning. Baking is quite worth the mess children might make, really.
And so we bake. And now that it's pumpkin season, we bake even more.
Today, we are exploring all kinds of pumpkins. Some of the pumpkins grew in our back yard, some in the local pumpkin patch. We counted them, we named their colours, we decided which ones were big and which ones were small.
Once we had learned all we could about the different pumpkins on our table, we got to work baking our very own pumpkin scones.
We used the puree of one of our smallest pumpkins after we halved and roasted it in the oven at 350ºF until it was soft, but you can use canned pumpkin and the scones will be just as delicious.
You Will Need:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 2 tbs sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg and allspice
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed into small chunks
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (or less if you don't want a really sticky dough)
1. Measure out the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and combine in a large bowl, then the children can take turns mixing with a wooden spoon.
I find it helps to have another child hold the bowl for the "mixer"—that way, they are kept busy AND learn cooperation at the same time.
2. Once the dry ingredients are blended, add the butter to the dry mixture and use a pastry cutter to blend. Blend until the butter is in pea-sized bits. We also used the cooperation method for this step.
3. Now add the pumpkin and buttermilk and mix gently until the dough is formed into a ball. Do not mush or mangle the dough, as you want the bits of butter to stay whole. If your dough is too sticky, add more flour.
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4. Divide the dough into enough sections so each child has his or her own dough.
Place the sections on a little pile of flour in front of each child. You can show them how to gently press the dough into a flat circle about 1 1/2 -2 inches thick.
Remind the children not to squish the dough, but to gently press it. They can pat their hands in flour first to keep the dough from sticking.
5. Help each child use a cookie cutter (we used a round one) to cut their dough into scones. You could also use a butter knife and cut them in strips, squares or triangles if you like.
Place the scones on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 425°F for up to 20 min. The scones will be golden and crunchy on the bottom and starting to turn golden on the top when they are ready.
We sprinkled ours with cinnamon and sugar when they came out of the oven, cut them in half, spread honey on them and gobbled them up!
These scones are kid-tested and we had a 100% approval rating!
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