Sand Cakes and Cupcakes


Lately the toddlers have been enjoying the baking and cooking equipment in the sandbox. Everyday we see children pretending to stir, scoop, pour and more!
One day Penny B, Annie, António and Rose were making sand cakes with spoons and muffin tins. Benjamin and Benji were using shovels to fill bowls with sand and transport them around the sand box. Ford used a flipper to place sand on a stump, he then said, “eat it, birthday cake,” and started to sing happy birthday.

Since this is a big interest at the moment, we decided to made real cupcakes! The children washed their hands and gathered around the table. We had a bowl of water and a bowl with a mixture of powdered ingredients. The children took turns passing the bowls and spoons around the table until all the powder was in the water bowl. Ben and Penny B smelt the mixture of water and dry ingredients. I wondered if it was sour or sweet? Benjamin said, “it’s sour… no it’s sweet!” Penny B agreed and encouraged all her peers to have a smell.

Next, we added some oil into the bowl. Jackson looked closely at the oil, I wonder what he thought of it. Ford and Morley helped to dump it in. Between each step the children took turns mixing with the whisk. Ben said, “it’s heavy,” I suggested the word, “thick,” as we hadn’t added all the liquids in yet. Penny F enjoyed banging the whisk against the bowl, this made a loud ding sound.

Ben, Annie and Penny B helped to crack the eggs into a small bowl. Ben was so confident in the egg cracking and did a great job banging it on the table. Jackson looked at the eggs in a similar way he observed the oil, I wonder if they looked the same to him?

Once it was all added and mixed together, we portioned the mixture into cupcake liners. Penny F, Morley, Charlotte, Ezra and Ford enjoyed taking scoops and dumping them in the liners. Penny B and Charlotte said, “a big scoop.” Off to the oven they went. Ben got a little concerned that the cupcakes were gone before he could taste them and said, “but I want to eat cupcakes, I love cupcakes,” we reassured him that they need to bake first and then we can decorate and eat them. This made him excited.

At PM snack, the toddlers each got a cupcake, blue icing, and a popsicle stick. They decorated the tops and enjoyed. Their hard work paid off and the results were delicious! Baking with children allows them to learn real life skills, encourages fine and gross motor abilities, introduces them to measurement, promotes patience and engages their complete focus and attention. As we moved through each step, we ensured we had gotten everything into the main bowl and mixed it well. We tidied up as we went to reduce mess and talked about what we saw, felt, smelled and heard. To expand on this, we can continue to engage with children in more baking and cooking experiences. Maybe Jackson & Ben would be interested in an egg-based meal as they examined the bowl of egg and enjoyed cracking them on the table!

Two toddlers are making sand cakes on the playground.

A toddler is adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients.


Two toddlers are mixing dry ingredients for the cupcakes.


A toddler is watching an educator spoon cupcake batter into muffin pan.