February is Bake for Family Fun Month! Aside from yielding delicious baked goods, baking can help families build stronger relationships, improve communication, and teach valuable lifelong skills. You might be wondering, how?
Well, building healthy skills and habits is a process that starts at home. Group activities, like baking, easily involve family members of all ages and skill-levels and create a space for productive teamwork. All it takes to get started is a quick web search for a healthy recipe, and the willingness to clean up a few spills.
Here is how baking with the family (or with friends who may as well be family) can be good for teaching and learning healthy habits and goal-setting skills:
Baking allows for creative expression, and you’d be surprised by what you can learn from observing a person’s artistry. In fact, certain types of therapy use art as a way to help children and even adults express emotions, fears, and internal struggles when they’re too difficult to put into words. Working on something that channels our creative side helps us relax, and a relaxed state-of-mind is great for bonding and relationship building.
A good support system is key when setting goals or developing new habits. Learning to bond with others can help establish new and nurture existing support systems.
“Pass the salt please!” Remember what we said about modeling positive behaviors? It helps others understand what we mean when we say “please be polite” or “please be considerate” if they have an example of what that looks like. When you’re baking, you might say something like “I know your hands are full, but when you have a second can you help me pour the flour?” A statement like this one considers the other person’s current position and gives them room to respond when they are ready. Imagine if the statement was “help me with the flour.” You might get a response like “Can’t you see my hands are full?!”
Good communication helps us consider how others might receive the things we say. Being able to listen to how our words come across can help us reflect on goals we set and recognize when they sound unrealistic.
Teaching Lifelong Skills
Baking is a science and it’s often precise down to the minute. It’s great for learning and mastering concepts like:
- Timing – Each recipe will vary and one additional or missing ingredient can affect baking time.
- How to Estimate – How much is a pinch, really?
- How to Follow Instructions – Have you ever missed a step and had to improvise?
- Mathematics – Maybe the instructions will feed 8 but you only want to feed 4. Now you need to divide the amount of each ingredient in half.
- Chemistry – Food changes when it’s exposed to heat, and that’s all Chemistry!
When it comes to setting goals, these concepts come into play too! Imagine you have a weight loss goal. You’ll be considering the timing of your meals, recovery drinks, and workouts and altering them to match your changing schedule. You may need to estimate a meal’s calorie count or follow a prescribed nutrition plan or workout regimen. You’ll probably also do plenty of math to track calories, inches lost, and to calculate your BMI. All of this becomes easier when you practice with activities that incorporate these skills.
Ready, Set, Bake!
Next time you’re stumped for activities to do as a family, unpack your aprons and pull up a good recipe. Your baking day can lead to some positive and healthy skill-building! For some healthy cookie recipes, check out these 8 Waistline Friendly Cookie Ideas. To stay informed with our fitness and nutrition articles, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog!