How many times didn’t we watch our mothers cook and mix ingredients like making a magic potion? Well, this very idea has inspired Betty Crocker at BettyLab and Christina Milian to break down barriers to STEM in families.
Inspired by the Barbie Dream Gap project, which aims to empower girls around the world, Milian and Crocker want to bring parents and children closer to science and math through recipes in the kitchen.
BELatina had the opportunity to talk to Milian about this beautiful initiative and why it is important for her to teach her children STEM skills, and how fun it is to put them into practice in the kitchen.
Can you tell a bit about BettyLab?
The BettyLab is a new online hub Betty Crocker launched to inspire families to explore all the possibilities in the kitchen, including STEM activities that are fun, accessible, and delicious.
What inspired you to utilize the kitchen as a vehicle for STEM confidence and awareness?
The kitchen is the original lab! It fuels confidence and creativity in everyone.
STEM can be intimidating and discouraging for many kids, and as the heart of the home, a kitchen is a place where kids can find immediate comfort. It’s a place they can test, learn, maybe burn some stuff, and try again. Baking is simply a delicious science, so with the BettyLab, we’re hoping to teach complicated concepts in a fun, accessible way.
As an entrepreneur, I share Betty’s love for tech and food, and as a mom, I share their mission to build confidence in kids. So, we got together in the BettyLab to create yummy, Barbie™-sized versions of Betty Crocker’s iconic cakes, called Betty Dream Cakes. Baking cakes just the right size for Barbie requires a lot of science, math, and creativity. And, just like our own dreams, each Betty Dream Cake is unique and customized by the person who makes it.
How did your children react to these STEM-filled activities?
My daughter, Violet, was on set with me while I was shooting in the BettyLab, and she had the best time! We learned together that so much science, math, and engineering go into making these tiny cakes. She had such a blast on-set, we went home and made our own Betty Dream Cakes for her Barbies.
What significance can STEM skills have on children’s lives?
STEM is beginning to play a vital role in careers and our capacity to innovate, which is why we need to start building that confidence in kids now. STEM education helps build kids’ critical thinking skills, leads to innovation, and teaches concepts that will open up possibilities for them.
Are there some tips you can give other Latina moms to facilitate these STEM skills teachings in the kitchen?
Many people think they need a special space or special equipment to learn about STEM, but a lot of the learning can happen right in the kitchen! Sometimes the best learning happens at home – it’s all about leaning in, learning, and having fun with your little scientist bakers.
I was surprised how much STEM goes into baking, so whether you’re making Barbie Dream Cakes or cookies or brownies, make note of the science, math, and engineering skills you and your kids are learning along the way. You can also go to BettyLab to learn more about the STEM behind baking. It’s a great resource for parents!
Are there any upcoming projects that you are working on?
I just wrapped shooting season three of my Starz series, “Step Up: High Water.” Also, my food truck business, Beignet Box, just opened our first storefront shop in Studio City, which is very exciting. Most importantly, my third child is due in the next few weeks, so we are very busy preparing for that.
Do you have any final words for the BELatina audience?
You can encourage your kids to find inspiration anywhere, especially in your own home! Make Betty Dream Cakes along with me at www.bettycrocker.com/bettylab and share your experiments on social using #BettyAndBarbie. There are also more fun and delicious STEM experiments on BettyLab, so definitely check it out.