Monday, 3 August 2015

The Great Nursery Bake Off

Monday morning has rolled around again! Still, I can't complain because the sun is shining for me up here in bonnie Scotland and I'm feeling ready and raring for another week! 
I also am due to receive my exam results tomorrow! Very nerve-racking indeed but I cannot wait for everything to be finalised and my place at University to be 100% confirmed!

Anyway! Enough about me! I'm on a roll with blogging recently and figure that I might as well write while I am inspired and motivated!

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry - Judges from the GBBO (Photo from Google Images)

With the Great British Bake Off about to return to our screens, I thought that this would be a great time to explore the literacy, numeracy and science of baking with our children!

During our regular food technology activities, I observed that the children were very interested in recipes and quantities. Of course, when we are making something specific; it is important to include the correct ingredients and the right amounts, but we began talking about what might happen if we mixed it up a bit - adding more water or using flour instead of sugar. Some brilliant language was being used at this point such as wet, sloppy, dry, crumbly, sweet, sticky...

Following this, we decided to make our own recipe books. I took photos of the ingredients that we had to play with - flour, sugar, oats, food colouring, water etc and printed them off for the children to choose. 

The children selected which of the ingredients that they would like to use, and cut out the pictures for their recipes. This involved decision making, motor skills and hand, eye co-ordination.

I printed some large pages with the words:

"add __________ spoon   of "

We used spoons as our unit of measurement during this activity because we were focusing on counting and simple amounts, you could change this to "grams" if you want the children to use weighing scales and learn these different skills.

With some adult support, the children then decided how much of each ingredient they would like to add into their mixture. They stuck the picture of the ingredient onto the page and had a go at writing the number into the space. This involves counting, logical thinking and curiosity and also writing skills.
N.B. I left a space after the word "spoon" so that an "s" could be added. This created opportunity for a little extra discussion about language.

Once the recipe was completed, the children worked with the adult to follow it, adding the right amounts of each ingredient into a large bowl and mixing it with a wooden spoon. We counted the spoonfuls as they were added and used our motor skills to mix.

Lastly, the mixture was spooned into cake cases and we found a fun cake stand to display the 'cakes'. 
Once all of the children had made their cakes, we looked together at the differences and spoke about what had made them this way; "D had 10 spoons of water so his is so sticky!"

We didn't actually bake our 'cakes' but an extra scientific element of baking is observing the change as the mixture is cooked. You can talk about this during this activity or (if you're really brave) you could heat them a little to see what happens. Remember to always explain to the children about safety in the kitchen!

The children were very excited to show their creations to their parents, though I had to be very clear that these were definitely not edible cakes!

Some more Bake-Off inspired activities

  • Word Wall - display all of the fantastic language that you have been using

  • Create a cake shop/ bakery role play area - include aprons, cake tins, spoons, a till, play money, recipe books etc

  • Get baking! There are tonnes of ideas for simple baking and cooking with children to be found at

  • The circle time baking game - this is all in the imagination, but using a large plastic mixing bowl and a wooden spoon, the children take turns around the circle to add whatever ingredient that they can think off (often leading to hilarity as someone inevitably adds 'worms' or 'mud'). Involve counting as they add the imaginary items and encourage talk of the sights and smells as the wonderful mixture is created! I always pretend to bake the cake and then 'hand out' slices to encourage further talk of the tastes - for example "can you taste the strawberries that you added?"

Have a wonderful week everyone and as they say on the Bake Off: "on your marks, get set, BAKE!"