Inside: How to make delicious pumpkin muffins with toddlers and preschoolers – with some tips on making the process easier!
I will never forget the first time I did a cooking activity with my 2 and 3 year old students. I found the recipe and hauled all the ingredients to my classroom. I placed everything out on the table. I was so excited!
I opened my classroom door, greeting my sweet little friends, and invited them to join me at the table.
I fumbled to find the recipe I printed out. Then I gathered my measuring cups and spoons. I kept glancing at the recipe, making sure I would have the right amount.
My sweet friends tried to stay connected. They really did. But when I had to keep stopping to read the recipe and measure each ingredient, and then I had to stop and go soften the butter, and I forgot to grab a bowl for the dry ingredients…..
Well, I lost the attention of my little friends.
Several simply left the table to become engaged in something else. Some fidgeted and tried opening some of the ingredients that were at the table.
And then I realized I didn’t allow enough time for preparation, baking, cooling, AND eating in our mere 3 hours of class time.
It was not a pleasant experience and I decided that cooking with a classroom of kids was a lot of work.
Can you relate?
But here’s the good news. I didn’t give up. I kept on creating those cooking activities, each time noting what did and did not work.
Fast forward 18 years. I think I’ve got this cooking thing down, my friends! And I’m going to share it with you. With this absolutely delicious pumpkin mix that I’ve been using with my own family. By scratch. Don’t be scared of that. It really is easy!
Hold my hand as I show you.
How to Make Delicious Pumpkin Muffins with Toddlers and Preschoolers
Okay, first let me share some of my secrets. Ready?
- Pre-measure the dry ingredients. I measure everything ahead of time and pour them into a sealable plastic bag.
- Have small cups handy. At least 2 per child.
- Have your wet ingredients measured out just before you start the cooking activity. Also, make sure the butter is softened and the eggs are ready.
Make sure the pan(s) you will be using are prepped and ready to go as well. You want as much done beforehand as possible so you can focus on the cooking experience itself.
Note: If you are doing this at home where it’s 1:1 with an adult, they can help you with the measuring. My pre-measuring is meant for groups of children in a toddler and young 3 year olds’ classroom setting, where we have limited adult help and perhaps not as much time.
So, you might be curious what pumpkin muffin recipe was used. It’s actually a pumpkin bread recipe, but it worked just as well making muffins. Here is the recipe: Pumpkin Bread.
Go ahead and download or print the recipe. I will wait. Then make sure to come back here to see how I used this recipe with my toddlers and preschoolers!
I have this 22 year old KitchenAide stand mixer that I adore. It handles anything! And while I could have easily used a hand mixer, or even mixed it by hand, I decided to haul that baby into the classroom because I knew my students would love it! (I was right, in case you were wondering.)
I poured all of my pre-measured ingredients into a bowl and then dipped the small plastic cups into the bowl to collect the ingredients. I gave 1 cup to each child and invited them to pour the ingredients from their cups into the mixing bowl.
They were fascinated on how this process worked. Especially every time I turned on the mixer.
Then, we added the wet ingredients and butter.
Here’s another tip: use disposable muffin tins. I love that these come with liners! But, you can easily use your own muffin tins and either spray them with oil or use cupcake liners.
I really wanted our little friends to see the baking process, so we walked to the kitchen and had a short lesson on how hot an oven is, and that we need to be very careful.
My co-teacher, Mari, placed the muffin tins into the oven. We set the timer for 30 minutes and went to the gym to for some indoor large motor play.
We then returned to the kitchen, 30 minutes later, and pulled our pumpkin muffins from the oven. Mmmm…. they smelled so good!
We let the muffins cool while we had circle time.
When we gathered for snack time, we included half of a muffin for each child.
Every single muffin was eaten.
Here are some more favorite recipes to use with toddlers and preschoolers: