Saturday, 5 January 2013

Play With Leftover Holiday Cookies

Do you have cookies at home after Christmas gifting season?  I have tons of those familiar butter cookies.  I found a way to use them for zero-prep playful learning that's great for a weekend play idea.

I stayed home from work to watch Ladybug Girl's on/off fever like a hawk.  I hadn't prepared anything special to do together, so she was just on the iPad -- too much.  So I had to scramble an idea together.  Luckily the preps were easy and Ladybug Girl even helped.

Cookies (preferably the light ones)
Baking tray (or any work surface)
Food coloring
Little cups for mixing
Spare and sterilized paintbrushes (we have unused ones)
Cup of water for rinsing colors
First pour milk in each little cup available.
Good practice for pouring too, one of Montessori's practical life activities
Then mix in chosen food coloring to make the 'paint'.
Fine motor skills practice right there.  This could even be a color mixing lesson for secondary colors.
We spent a lot of time on this part alone.  I was impressed at how her hand control improved.
Lastly, dip a paintbrush and paint away!
She asked for a cup of water for rinsing after -- smart girl.
Hey, she's finally using a big girl grip!  For toddlers, this should still be fine though bigger cookies may be better.
She launched into a how-to spiel, like the hosts of the  cooking or  art shows she loves.
She was so into the activity, I expected her to keep painting other designs, but my little attention-span-challenged daughter wanted to stop after just one because she thought of another 'how to recipe' she wanted to narrate.  Decorating was "just too long!".


I tried, really did, until it began to be a sore point and we were both tense.  So I remembered reading that you mustn't force learning at that point and dropped it.  
I may have grumbled a little bit more.
Mental note.  Now that I think about it, to her the magic must have been more about playing TV show host rather than playing bakeshop.  I should have encouraged her to record a new how-to for other kinds of cookie designs, rather than just ask her to 'finish painting'.  

So to bring back the fun, we had a little color mixing with all the milk paint left over.
First on our tongues
And then the inevitable mess.
And so in the words of Mister Maker:  Our making time is over, but yours is just beginning!
Or as Ladybug Girl puts it "mix, mix, mix till everything's a blur!".

That's definitely like play time around here.


  1. Such a smart little girl she is indeed! <3

  2. Hi Trins. This is Melissa Torre from super way back.. Poveda days. Hope you remember me. I stumbled across your blog while surfing around re baking with kids for my niece and ended up reading many of the other entries... hahaha. Just thought I'd drop a line saying I'm really hella impressed by your dedication to hands-on parenting and learning the personality of your child and inventing games to develop her accordingly. Galing! This on top of a full-time job... I must say I don't know how you do it. I'm only doing the corporate job part and I'm already tired. :) So keep on playing :)

    1. Melissa Torre!!! How did I miss this most exciting comment EVER. How could I ever forget my very first debate coach? I am so glad you dropped by. As thoughtful and genuine as you were in high school! I'm even more impressed by your devotion to your niece!:)

  3. We often "paint" our cookies before baking. We use a mixture of evaporated milk and food coloring on our sugar cookies before baking. The colors bake onto the cookie but don't alter much in the way of taste. It's lots of fun; if a bit messy.

    1. What a great idea! I will try that. Thank you so much for dropping by!


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