Baking is a fun and healthy way to spend time with your kids and introduce them to the joys of cooking.
When I was little, I loved cooking with my mother. We started with simple no-bake recipes until we were both more comfortable with me around the oven!
Scaring your kids about the dangers of ovens is an easy way to make sure they don’t get hurt. Teaching them the safest way to use ovens, however, molds them to be more independent and gives them more confidence in the kitchen :)
Ovens can be dangerous if not used carefully. Many kitchen accidents have been linked to ovens, so it’s very important that you teach your kids how to use an oven safely.
Now, let’s look at how you can teach your kids about oven safety!
Make sure their hands are protected
The first and most important lesson you can teach your kids is to never touch the oven without protecting their hands.
Make sure you have some good, child-sized oven mitts ready for your kids to use. Having a pair of potholders will be a good alternative if you don’t have any mitts available.
Remember to keep your oven mitts or potholders dry because wet mitts and potholders actually conduct more heat and make them more dangerous than safe for your child.
As an added precaution—get your kids to wear long-sleeved shirts to protect their arms while baking. This will offer them more protection while they’re navigating the kitchen and bumping into appliances.
Once your little bakers are safely geared up, it’s time to turn on the oven!
Getting the oven ready
The next important step in oven safety is getting the oven ready for baking.
Before you start baking, you need to make sure your oven is ready to be used. Check if it’s empty and that your oven rack is in the right position (I like to keep mine in the middle because that’s where most of my baking takes place!).
Now it’s time for the all-important preheating. Every oven is different, so show your kids how to turn on the oven safely and wait for it to be preheated completely. Certain ovens will give you a signal when they’re done preheating—this is an easy way to know exactly when the oven is ready to be used.
If you’re not sure about the temperature of your oven, you can consider investing in a handy oven thermometer. All you need to do is hang it on your oven rack to check how it's heating up!
I also recommend you let your little ones watch how you prepare the oven the first time around, and then supervise them as they learn to follow the process themselves.
While the oven is in use
Now that the mittens are on and the oven’s preheated, it’s time to get baking :)
If your kids are very small, help them with the following steps or have them observe you.
When opening the oven door, teach your kids to stand directly in front of it and open the door as wide as it will go (oven doors are heavy, so you may need to lend your little baker a hand with this step).
After the door is open, teach them how to place their tin or cookie sheet on the oven rack securely and gently push it into the back of the oven. Once everything is in place, show your kids how to close the oven door safely.
Now, set a timer and play the waiting game! Setting a timer is the best way to avoid burnt goodies and make sure your kids maintain a safe distance from the oven while it’s in use. It’s also a good way to make sure their impatience doesn’t get the better of them and they open the oven door before their goodies have a chance to be cooked through!
Once the baking is done, show your kids how to take out the tin or cookie sheet (using a pair of oven mitts or potholders, of course) and place it on a cooling rack straight away. Then make sure they close the oven door completely.
Now for another important part—turning the oven off. Teach your kids to never leave the kitchen without turning off the oven.
To make it easier for your little ones to learn oven safety, make them a little checklist of things they need to do when working with the oven so they remember every step and they’re safer in the kitchen.
Oven safety means more fun baking adventures!
By teaching your little chefs how to use an oven safely, you can all look forward to many more successful kids’ cooking classes without the stress of kitchen mishaps! :)
Before founding Bake Austin, Pascal Simon earned her degree as a Pastry Chef from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. A mother of two, Pascal is passionate about cultivating the next generation of bakers and welcomes children from all schooling backgrounds, whether public, private or homeschooled.