From SpongeBob and the Little Mermaid to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, our oceans are a source of fascination and inspiration for young and old alike. If your little ones are as besotted by the endless blue as us, there are lots of ways to incorporate their interest into your usual rainy-day activities – with baking being one of them.
Mermaid cupcakes, starfish biscuits, octopus marshmallow pops – these are just a handful of the bakes you can create to indulge your child’s love for sea and sugar. Whether they have a favourite fish or are mad about whales and dolphins, marine life is easy to recreate in baked form, so get creative and plunge the depths for new ideas.
To help inspire you and your child’s next ocean-inspired baking session, here are a few recipes for you to try – perfect for rainy day fun or in preparation for a sea-themed celebration. There are also a few recipes to help you get more fruit and veg into your little ones.
Mermaids may be a fantasy, but they’re often children’s first introduction to the sea. Since Ariel splashed on to our screens in 1989, youngsters have dreamt of enchanted kingdoms beneath the waves, so if your child loves all things Little Mermaid, you’d do well to have a go at these charming mermaid cupcakes.
Soft sponge, delicious icing and the instantly-recognisable image of the mermaid’s tail; what little girl or little boy would say ‘no’ to these beautiful cupcakes at their sea-themed birthday party? For the best results, you’ll need to set your mermaid tails overnight. That way, when you place them in the fondant icing, there’s less chance of a belly flop.
Cookies are an easy bake to make with little ones in tow, and they offer lots of ways to get creative and nail that under-the-sea theme. Head online in search of ocean-themed cookie cutters, and there are all sorts of designs to choose from – from turtles and sharks, to the classic starfish.
Once you’re armed with your chosen cookie cutters, take a look at this easy-to-follow recipe for under the sea cookies. With just a handful of ingredients, you and yours can whip up a huge batch of ocean-inspired bickies – whether that’s a family of mermaids, a group of starfish or a school of multi-coloured fish.
Octopuses are incredible creatures, and their otherworldly, alien appearance makes them a big character beneath the waves. Little ones, in particular, love their brightly-coloured tentacles and bulging eyes, and you can make these features central to your cute, edible replica.
If your child is a big fan of all things under the sea, an octopus cake is sure to be a big hit. This might sound like a tricky undertaking for amateur bakers, what with eight tentacles to contend with, but there are loads of different ways to give your creation a cute finish while keeping the design relatively straightforward. For a little inspiration, we love this design from Wilton – though it’s almost too cute to cut into.
Whether you’re planning a party or just want something cute to add to their school lunchbox, under the sea cake pops are a simple sweet treat you can easily put together at home. The great thing about cake pops is that they’re a delicious morsel without the high calorie count, so you can easily control how much sugar your child gets from their ocean-inspired bakes.
Cake pops may be a little tricky to master, but they’re a great bake to have in your arsenal for parties or when your kids have friends over. Once you have the basic spherical shape, it’s just a matter of adding icing layer by layer, and there are loads of different under the sea characters you can recreate in cake – from crabs to seahorses.
Who doesn’t love jelly? Refreshing, squidgy and low in calories, it’s been the dessert of choice for parents and kids alike for decades. And now, it’s getting an under-the-sea makeover, with this simple recipe for ocean jelly cups.
A ‘why didn’t I think of that?!’ idea, this neat little recipe is the ideal addition to your ocean-themed get-together. All you need is some blue jelly, fish-themed gummy sweets, and a few ladyfingers to act as a seabed, and you have your very own seascape. You can also get the same effect on a much larger scale if you don’t want to make individual glasses; just grab a good-sized glass bowl, and you can make an ocean’s worth of jelly for your family to dive into.
As parents, we’re always looking for ways to get more of the good stuff in our kids, and creating themed meals from fruit and veg is just one simple tactic you can use to up their intake and hit that five-a-day. Here, this eye-pleasing recipe shows you how to quickly put together a colourful sea-themed plate using just fruits and vegetables – perfect for imaginative afternoon snacking with none of the bad stuff.
There are dozens of ways you can dice, slice and chop up seasonal fruits and veggies to create a marine-inspired scene your little ones will love to munch on. Here, a strawberry is transformed into a crab, a kiwi into a turtle, and chickpeas into the seabed – the ideal way to inspire your kids to eat their greens.
Baking bread is an essential skill all kids should learn, and this wonderful recipe from Betty Crocker is the perfect introduction for kids who admire marine life. With all the elements of a classic yeast bread, your child will learn the elements of kneading, rising, proofing and baking, and then have the pleasure of tucking into a bread version of one of the most-loved animals of the deep: the sea turtle.
Of course, a sea turtle isn’t the only seafaring critter you can transform into a charming bread loaf. Once you and your little one have mastered the fundamentals of baking bread, the world’s your oyster when it comes to ocean-inspired designs – from blue whale bloomers to starfish sourdough.
We hope this collection of recipes takes you beneath the waves in search of your next baked creations. Remember, if you and your kids need a little inspiration, Blue Planet Aquarium puts on a wonderful display of exotic marine life. For more information or to buy your tickets, visit the homepage or call us on 0151 357 8804.