Happy Memorial Day! Summer begins NOW! I was at Target the other day and saw something in the baking aisle that reminded me of one of my most favorite parts of summer from my childhood: Weekly trips to the grocery store with my mom. One reason I liked going to the store with her so much in the summer is that she had me pick out one boxed cake mix each week that I would get to make myself. So when I saw these fun summer cake and cookie mixes at the store, it reminded me of what a great idea this was and is – both from childhood memories of enjoying baking and also now from a “grown up” mommy and teacher perspective.
Having kids make a cake or cookie mix once a week in the summer helps them start to love cooking with fun, low stress, easy projects that usually turn out well. It also helps them practice many, many academic skills over the summer. Following a recipe (or directions on a box) and successfully baking a cake requires reading, sequencing, measuring, adding, using elapsed time, and even a bit of chemistry! I figure getting to pick out a cake mix each week could even make trips to the store easier. Even though our daughter is still too little for these summer baking projects (her weekly treat of choice at the grocery store is currently a mini post-it cube), I imagine that a kid who knows he or she gets to pick out one special dessert to prepare for the family might be slightly less focused on begging for a myriad of candy or junk food to take home. Or maybe not – but at least it’s worth a try! Regardless, I remember summer baking fondly from my own childhood and can’t wait to try it with our own daughter when she’s older (and has finally outgrown her post-it habit).