COOKIES & CRAFTS
When my own children were little boys, we always decorated cookies for the holidays. I always hoped these would be some of their favorite memories later on. But when my granddaughter, Savannah, was born, baking cookies took on a whole new meaning. By the time she was two, she was donning a little apron to help me make and bake cookies. Children love to make cut-out cookies. Granted, the cookie dough may become a tad tough from excessive handling, and children tend to pour rather than sprinkle on jimmies and colored sugar..but if you don’t mind having sugar and sprinkles all over the kitchen floor, and aren’t obsessed about how dainty the cookies look, this is a great project to share with your children, grandchildren, or even the neighborhood children.
In addition to my own grandchildren, we’ve had co-workers’ children and my sister’s three youngsters here for “the cookies and crafts” day. The most I’ve had at my house to do cookies and crafts at one time were twelve children, which I have to say – is a tad much. We did manage to get everyone around the dining room table (which has three extension leaves) but with twelve children and half a dozen mothers on hand to assist, it turned into a rather chaotic session. That particular event took place one Christmas. The children decorated small artificial trees which I bought for about a dollar each at Big Lots; the mothers contributed assortments of tiny non-breakable ornaments and garlands, mostly from Michael’s Craft store.
Each child decorated his own tree which was theirs to keep. After the trees had been decorated and admired, I brought out large tree shaped cookies, some tubs of frosting (I make my own butter cream but you could use the commercial frosting mixes if you didn’t want to make your own) and we had loads of miniature M&Ms, Red Hot cinnamon candies, and a wide variety of Christmas jimmies, sprinkles and colored sugars (I buy all of these things after the holidays, when they are on sale). The mothers helped me fill 12 muffin liners so that each child had his or her own candies for decorating.
Despite the chaos of having twelve children and six mothers in my dining room, this was probably the biggest hit of all the cookies and crafts sessions we have enjoyed.
The children in my life (now four grandchildren, a godson, and my sister’s three youngsters) have enjoyed decorating plastic buckets for Easter (mostly with stickers and felt marking pens) to then use to collect eggs at our Easter egg hunt, and they have also decorated large egg shaped cookies. We have had Valentine’s Day cookies & crafts; the children make and decorate Valentines for their parents (red construction paper, paper doilies, a variety of stickers) and then got to decorate large heart-shaped cookies to take home.
One Christmas, we made little graham cracker houses which they decorated (I put the houses together out of graham crackers and royal icing the day before) while another year, I made up large house-shaped cookies for them to decorate. On these occasions, they also made some kind of ornament to take home. One time, I asked the mothers to give me small school pictures of their children and the kids made ornaments out of their photographs, some construction paper, and yarn.
On another occasion, we had a white elephant sale after the children had decorated cookies—I collected over a period of several months, with the help of friends, a wide assortment of knick knacks and other little items that were “like new” but no longer wanted. Many of these items were Christmas decorations, but we also had all sorts of other things including unopened packages of men’s handkerchiefs, unopened gift soaps, unused coffee mugs—things like that. Friends contributed towards this event, and one of my friends made up little white elephant sale tickets for the event. We gave each child twelve tickets to “buy” something for their parents for Christmas. Several mothers manned picnic tables in my front yard, loaded with all of the White elephant donations and the children were allowed to go and “shop” for gifts for their parents. Everyone was delighted with the outcome of this project so – we are planning to do this one again, perhaps next Christmas. (I’ve already received a boxful of white elephant donations).
If you have some children in your life, it doesn’t take much to plan and
carry out a cookies & crafts session with them. For Valentine’s day this year, I wasn’t feeling up to par and didn’t feel like standing in the kitchen making cookie dough—so I cheated, with slice and bake sugar cookie dough. I did several packages at one time, adding perhaps ½ to ¾ cup of flour to the mix, to make the dough stiffer and less likely to spread too much. I made up the large heart shaped cookies about a week in advance (stored in plastic containers with wax paper between the layers). I did make up my own frosting (because we all like it so much!) and a daughter in law helped me by providing heart shaped paper doilies and some of the stickers. We just had my grandchildren and a godson here for this event and discovered, much to my chagrin, it was much easier to handle with just a few children. (With a lot fewer sprinkles and colored sugar all over the floor).
You may have a lot of good ideas of your own – and if you do, I’d be happy to hear from you. I’m always searching for new ideas for cookies and crafts!