On our 2nd coop day we made muffins. It’s sometimes easy to overlook all the good things that can be learned or reinforced during everyday ordinary activities. I don’t know about you, but all too often I don’t include Jessie when I’m cooking. OR, when I try to get her to help, she’s sometimes uninterested. This day they all enjoyed the activity more because their friends were there.
When we arrived Marcy had bowls set up with the gluten free flour already measured out. Marcy and Isaiah have been on a gluten free diet for a good while. She has tried other brands but said King Arthur Gluten Free Flour is her favorite. Two of the students are on a gluten free diet so there was nothing included in the muffins that they shouldn’t have.
Marcy talked with them about which ingredients were fruits, reinforcing what they learned the coop session before. Each student measured their baking powder, measured and poured their cooking oil and cracked their eggs. We used applesauce in some of them and less sugar.
Each of these activities are great for fine motor work:
- cracking the eggs
- measuring baking powder and leveling it off
- pouring the heavy-ish jug of oil into the measuring glass, it’s hard to control and get the right amount
- stirring the batter – truly this is still hard work for Jessie, to stir the batter well enough and get it away from the edges of the bowl. Her arm is tired by the time she’s done.
- filling the muffin pan cups without leaving lots of batter on the top of pan to burn
Jessie enjoys making muffins now, but it has been a work in progress. When Jessie was younger, on a day when I decided we would bake together, I would eagerly call her to the kitchen. I would be anticipating how fun she was going to find baking like my other two kids had. She did enjoy it, but couldn’t hang with it the whole time.
It was disappointing to me sometimes when I had set aside the time to purposefully include her and then her arm would get tired so quickly or she would get frustrated that she had a hard time measuring correctly.
If your child is younger and can’t stick with it for the whole baking project, try not to be discouraged. Notice which activity is frustrating or that they don’t like. Let them do what they can that is fun and work up to doing a little more on another baking day.
It’s good to push a little when something is hard. But, it’s important to find that delicate balance between gaining ground in the skills you’re teaching and frustration that makes them not want to repeat the activity.
I sometimes would see baking as this great OT session. I would encourage Jessie to keep going when her arm was tired and she wanted to stop. I can see now that caused her to not want to participate the next time, she was anticipating that her arm would hurt again. It would have been better to pull her up a chair and include her in the rest of the process without pushing her too hard. It is better to strike the right balance of work and fun so she will be eager to come back and do it another day.
You may be thinking, “Push her too hard? It’s just making muffins!” Every kid has different strengths and weaknesses and stirring the heavy batter genuinely made her arm hurt. As I typed that it only now occurred to me I always make a double batch. That makes the batter heavier.
However, she was a pro at cracking eggs right from the start and loved doing that part. Back when she couldn’t measure easily, I would measure and she would dump in. At some point she got interested in watching cooking shows and one day started telling me about “wet” ingredients and “dry” ingredients and completely cracked me up.
When our yummy muffins were done we all enjoyed tasting the different varieties. They each took home some of all the muffins, which Jessie’s daddy really appreciated 🙂
That’s making me want some muffins.
Till next week,