Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Decorating Cookies with Kids...Works for Me Wednesday

Blame it on the commercials, you know they ones...mom, grandma, and kidlets all in matching aprons, standing in a sparkling clean kitchen decorating cookies together.  They're smiling, hugging, and having an all-around wonderful, memory-making time.  Not to mention, the cookies look perfect.
Let's be honest here...decorating cookies with kids CAN be fun...but it can also be a hair-pulling, cry-inducing, mommy-needs-wine-please mess.  I've found that I have to remove this sentence from my vocabulary, "Here, let me help you with that."

Here are some tips to {stress-free} cookie decorating with kids:

1. Have everything ready BEFORE bringing the kids into the kitchen.  That means, the cookies are baked, icing is made and tinted, all supplies are out and available.  (If you really think your kids will like the color the icing themselves, tint most of it, then save a bowl or two for them to color.)

2. Hand Sanitizer.  Obviously, if you are doing this at home, you can have your kids wash their hands.  If you are with a large group (these pictures were taken at a community center), break out the hand sanitizer.

3. The icing.  Royal icing can be made in advance and refrigerated for a few days.  Before the decorating begins, bring to room temperature and thin with a bit of water.  You'll want it looser than a piped icing, but not so thin (like a flood icing) that it runs off the cookies.  Thin it enough so it can be easily squeezed out of a bottle.

4. Sprinkles and sanding sugar. Kids love 'em.  I think they're a must.  You might not want frosting-covered hands grabbing for the sprinkle containers, so small bowls and ramekins with spoons work great.
{PS...if you put out 7 kinds of sprinkles and sugars, kids will want to use ALL 7 on their cookies.}

5. Decorate ON something with an edge.  Here we used paper plates, but if you're decorating at home, a rimmed cookie sheet works perfectly.  Remember those sprinkles?  You'll want to catch them on that rimmed sheet before you're slipping & sliding all over your floor.

6. Let them eat COOKIES!  Even if you're saving your cookies for Santa or the neighbors, make sure each child has a cookie to eat.  (Otherwise, Santa is going to have a big ol' bite out of one of his cookies.) 

7. ENJOY the moment!!!  Kids are so fun to decorate with because they're not scared.  They dive right in and have the *best* ideas.  I'm in love with this striped tree:

{Be prepared to see it on the blog next year.} ;)



Do you have any tips for cookie decorating with kids?

51 comments:

  1. It's awesome that you held this decorating event for the kids. It is such fun to watch them create their own designs on the cookies and you are right...if you put out all the sprinkles etc., they will most often try to use them all on one cookie. Great tips for decorating with kids Bridget.
    I love how the kids beam with pride at their finished results.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So great! This will make for some awesome stress-free Christmas memories. :) no "mommy-needs-wine-please" moments! haha!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tip: find sprinkles on sale or clearance because one kid can drain an entire container on one cookie. Maybe reserve your favorite embellishments for yourself. I hosted a cookie decorating party for my daughter's birthday and it requires a ton of patience and plenty of warm soapy water and washcloths!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We did cookie decorating at my son's 6th birthday, and it was so much fun. (But definitely messy.) I LOVE that striped tree!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It took me a few years to come up with these rules at our house. Now with grandchildren coming, I know I can do cookie decorating stress free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a tradition that all (9 now)my grandkids come to my home and decorate Christmas cookies. My oldest is 19 years old (and yes the boyfriend came two years in a row and decorated)and youngest is 2 years old. Great memories, loads of pictures. Even their parents decorate at least one cookie each year.I DO have all the cookies already baked!! I have done this since the 19 year old was 2 years old.LOL Merry Christmas

      Delete
  6. that's awesome! I do the same thing with my girls and friends. I recommend a drop cloth added to you list for those drops of icing you miss and require a chisel to remove later :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awesome that the kids got to decorate their own cookies. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It looks like so much fun. I love it! Love, Love, LOVE!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Getting me excited to see what the kids can come up with when they decorate rice krispies xmas tree next week!

    ReplyDelete
  10. i want to be there! decorating cookies are so much fun!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love this post! I'm decorating gingerbread men with my 3 year old daughter this week. I laughed at the picture of the sprinkles dumped on the tree - that's exactly what she does. And funnily enough, when she helped decorate our actual Christmas tree, she put all her ornaments on the same branch :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Aww, love this post! I feel like half of these tips are ones I use for myself, lol. Especially the decorating on a cookie sheet. Otherwise I get sprinkles everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You were such a blessing to these kids! Thanks for sharing your talents with us all! I never even saw you snap a picture!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such amazing tips!!! And I just adore that you did this Bridget. You are the best!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Looks like a lot of fun! We did a cake pop party for my sons eighth birthday. I could have used some of these tips. :-) Makes me want to start planning another party.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Fun! Are you ready for me to bring M, T & L over?

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love this! I give each kid their own paper plate with piles of sprinkles, it helps them to not spill passing them around, and I find half of the kids end up eating them, so they don't put fingers in other people sprinkles. LOL. I also have to sit back and try not to help, let them do their thing, if you can, it's hard.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That striped tree is genius!
    I am nutso when my kids start decorating cookies...the mess is endless, but their creations are so worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Want to know what's so crazy? Those kids are better at outlining than me! Great post, did this with my kids over thanksgiving break and they had a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I just might have to do striped trees myself for the class parties. Great tips.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you so much for this great post! It couldn't have come at a better time - I am in charge of the "Cookie Decorating" station in my son's kindergarten class tomorrow and your tips and advice will work PERFECTLY!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. We "paint" cookies. I buy kids paint brushes and make the icing a little thinner. My daughter LOVES it! Of course, sprinkles are an absolute essential and my daughter does put every single type I break out all on one cookie! But that's okay because she loves it...and I love it!

    My biggest tip to decorating parents is do not expect perfection. We had a friend over to decorate with us this year and her grandmother was all worried because her Christmas trees weren't green and she wasn't painting Santa's face on the Santa head cookies - I told her not to worry. If I wanted the cookies to look perfect, I would have decorated them myself. I want them to look like a kid decorated them...so much more whimsical!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you! I'm getting ready to decorate cookies with my son and nieces, this is exactly what I wanted to see! The older girls want to learn how to decorate cookies "my way", lol! My 3 year old son, however, will get the "kid" decorating station.

    ReplyDelete
  24. It took me soooo long to learn to stand back and let kids do it 'their way'. Now that my girls are in their late teens and early twenties, I think I've finally mastered it ;)
    Great post---that striped tree is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  25. LOVE that you're giving back to the community! The kids and I are going to make those gingerbread heads that Bakerella had on her blog last month. I don't think they'll be nearly as pretty but it will be fun!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Using Royal Icing in bottles is brilliant! My one question is how do you get it inside those tiny bottle openings?

    I really want to know! I'm doing this with 16 preschoolers tomorrow and had planned on going with buttercream in a piping bag made of ziploc. I have a hard enough time getting the icing in those much larger openings!

    Thanks so much for your wonderful suggestions1

    ReplyDelete
  27. Please don't make me wait until next Christmas, Bridget! Bring on the striped tree! Shall I ask Santa?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Tips for cookie decorating with kids? Yes! Whenever we make gingerbread houses or cookies (with tons of candy and icing around) give them their own stick/pack of gum first.... they love it and it cuts down on some of that sugar consumtion

    ReplyDelete
  29. off and on we have decorated cookies with kids for years, and at home. i usually give them a 1/2 sheet to work on, plus colored glaze and sprinkles. they come up w/ the wildest decorations.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Gah, I WISH cookie decorating could be like it is on TV!! I love your tips, I tend to be a bit of a control freak when it comes to Jon David baking...this will help a lot!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. This is one of our favourite things to do at home (so much that my neice asked to be invited over next time we do sugar cookies). I agree that you need to let kids do their own thing - that's why I have 5 snowflake cookies at home right now with a single EYE in each centre, LOL! Oh, and to the poster who asked about getting the icing in the bottles - funnels from the dollar store, I think I have about 20! And Bridget, if I hadn't taken your advice about the bottles oh so long ago, I don't think my daughters and I would have survived making cookies together...thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for the timing of this post! I'm having 5 4&5 year olds @ my house this weekend for cookie decorating w/my daughter! I think I'll not clean my floors ahead of time!!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Fantastic recommendations, Bridget! Especially the, "enjoy the moment" - I cannot tell you what I would give to have found the hobby of cookie creating when the Ranger and his brother were little!

    Enjoy it with your kiddo a little extra for me, will ya?

    xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great tips! Those squeeze bottles and paper plates are a MUST!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Really smart tips Bridget! I had a couple little girls over to play cookies with me and it was fun, but yes, it was a LOT of work and a lot of clean-up and much harder than I expected. These tips will really come in handy when I get up the nerve to try it again ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. So cute! AND these tips come in equally as handy when teaching 13 women on a ranch in Texas how to ice and flood a cookie. :) Just sayin. (boy was that fun)

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am one of those "baker mommies" who almost has a fit bc of the mess, this makes iy so much easier, and puts it in perspective. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. My best advice is to scrap the perfectionist inside of you! It took a long time for me to let my kids' cookies be...Well, kid's cookies! I find that when they dry, even if they look rough when being frosted, they are absolutely beautiful. I take out an entire tub of toothpicks and my girls make gorgeous cookies by swirling and dragging the icing colors together. I had to learn to RELAX.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for linking up Bridget! I featured this post in my wrap up http://tidymom.net/2011/holiday-foods/

    Have a Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Oooo, squeeze bottles would make cake decorating with kids even easier/more fun, I think. I usually just use ziploc bags, but now even I want to decorate with bottles instead, ha.

    ReplyDelete
  41. You are one talented lady! I don't think your cookies can get any cuter! Love!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I host a cookie decorating party every year... I hadn't thought of putting the icing in bottles!!! I think my life is changed forever!! Pinning in hopes that I will remember that for next year. Oh, and my party was a week ago and I am still finding sprinkles on the floor :o)

    ReplyDelete
  43. I know I'm late to the game with my question, but how do you handle drying time when you are doing a group event like this? Does everyone get a plate to take home and they dry there? I prefer decorating with RI (both by myself and with my kids), but I'm not sure of the best way to send home wet (or slightly wet) cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I know I'm late to the game with my question, but how do you handle drying time when you are doing a group event like this? Does everyone get a plate to take home and they dry there? I prefer decorating with RI (both by myself and with my kids), but I'm not sure of the best way to send home wet (or slightly wet) cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Generally, the public serves as a mix of their potential and existing clients. There are hidden prospects everywhere and you will lower your chances of reaching them if you lack an online identity.$1 Hosting

    ReplyDelete
  46. This year, finally, I made the gingerbread dough. Going to cut & bake the cookies tonight.
    Hopefully tomorrow my li'l one, niece & nephew will help me ice them.
    Thanks for the great tips & recipes.
    I'm so excited to see how the kids do. I know they're going to have a blast!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
(Comments, especially on busy giveaways, may take a minute to show...thank you for your patience.)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It button on image hover