You are here

Sweet Development: Holiday Baking With Toddlers and Preschoolers

During the holiday season, as parents we want to make special rituals with our children. One of those rituals may include baking cookies or the infamous gingerbread house with our toddler or preschooler. Parents will all agree that this is a difficult challenge, but the benefits are so important for their development.

Baking Builds Math Skills 

Kids learn all kinds of mathematical concepts while baking. When they are helping to dump 3 cups of flour into a bowl, they are counting.

Baking Enriches Oral Vocabulary and Reading Skills 

Explanation and reasoning is an excellent way to build vocabulary while reading a recipe. Learning to follow the steps of a recipe is an important reading skill that will translate later into your child being able to understand how to read directions of any kind. 

Baking Introduces Life Skills 

It builds self-esteem by giving kids the skills they need to feed and look after themselves as they grow.

Baking Develops Fine-Motor Skills 

For young children, baking provides fun fine-motor practice. When holding a spoon, kids are developing and strengthening their pincer grasp (needed for writing). Also, when they are stirring, they are building hand-eye coordination.

Baking Promotes Social Skills

"Who is going to do what?" and "Whose turn is it?" are both critical social lessons that apply to all sorts of situations. You are still modelling turn-taking and waiting skills.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, Nurturing Homes Initiative October 20, 2023

STARKVILLE, Miss.-- In-home, unlicensed childcare providers in Mississippi can receive technical assistance, educational resources and professional development through the Nurturing Homes Initiative program. Delivered through the Mississippi State University Extension Service, NHI is dedicated to enhancing the quality of early education experiences in family childcare homes. The program is open to any in-home, unlicensed childcare providers who provide full-time, year-round childcare services to children from birth to 5 years old.

A group of people hold a ribbon in front of a building entrance.
Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral September 26, 2023

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Toy trucks loaded with miniature felt apples idle their imaginary engines in an orchard of building-blocks. A toy kitchen beckons tiny chefs to bake felt apple pies. A row of small lab coats hung neatly along the wall invite little visitors to explore why apples float in a bowl full of water. These are just a few of the apple-themed, hands-on learning opportunities that are engaging children in September at the new Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral Center in Hattiesburg. The center held its grand opening Sept. 19.

Filed Under: Family, Children and Parenting, Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral September 11, 2023

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Individuals interested in working with young children and families are encouraged to apply for job openings with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Mississippi Child Care Resource and Referral at MSU Extension is hiring program associates and office associates in several counties statewide.

Boy with blue backpack.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Children and Parenting August 14, 2023

Now that school is back in session for many of us, everyone is getting back into the swing of things.

A man and woman sit opposite one another while talking.
Filed Under: MSU Extension Head Start April 17, 2023

GULFPORT, Miss. -- When Martin King’s sister encouraged him to enroll his children in Head Start, he took her advice. And he said he’s glad he did. King’s children, ages 3 and 5, began class in September at Gaston Point Head Start. It is one of several locations in Harrison County where the Mississippi State University Extension Service manages and delivers the early learning program.

Success Stories

Two adults, smiling, working with three small children.
4-H, Youth Projects, Master Gardener, Family, Children and Parenting, Nurturing Homes Initiative, Lawn and Garden, Youth Gardening
Volume 9 Number 1

The Mississippi State University Extension Service recently relaunched its Nurturing Homes Initiative. The program’s mission is to improve the quality of the early educational experiences provided in family childcare homes through mentoring, improving the learning environment, and delivering research-based information.

Two groups of people stand next to each other, smiling.
4-H, Youth Projects, Master Gardener, Family, Children and Parenting, Lawn and Garden, Youth Gardening
Volume 8 Number 3

The Pearl River County 4-H Junior Master Gardeners have made some special additions to Poplarville City Park. A new pollinator garden planted in raised beds features a wildflower area, a native plant area, and an herb area.

A woman crouches, holding a plaque, with a girl on her left and a boy and steer on her right.
4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Family, Children and Parenting, MSU Extension Head Start
Volume 8 Number 2

The 2022 Sale of Champions generated a preliminary total of $448,500, approximately $40,000 more than last year and the highest ever. 

A woman smiling with two smiling children.
Family, Children and Parenting
Volume 8 Number 1

At least half the childcare providers in Pike County, from Summit to the state line, are participating in free trainings scheduled and delivered by Don Smith, the Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Pike County.


Three smiling women stand next to each other.
MSU Extension Head Start
Volume 2 Number 3

Waynesboro pre-K educator earns accreditation through Early Years Network program, opens new center

LaTonya Hill dedicated herself to early childhood education as a college student, but an odd turn of events convinced her to open her own childcare center.


Monday, November 11, 2019 - 7:00am
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 7:00am
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 7:00am

Select Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

Portrait of Dr. Louise E. Davis
Extension Professor
Portrait of Ms. Jamila B. Taylor
Director, Head Start & EHS Prg