If you want to make Christmas cookies with little kids without losing your mind, here are some tips!
Let’s see now. Do I have much experience with making cookies with little kids? Bah! Just a little bit. ;) I wish I had more cookie-making pictures from our first round of kids, but here are a few that I found:
Multiply those pictures times a few dozen-hundred and now let’s head into the 2020’s in which there are seven new little kids two enjoy cookie-making experiences with. I now take all that I learned whilst making Christmas cookies with Round 1 of kids and enjoy keeping things simpler with Round 2 of kids.
As if making Christmas cookies with kids can every really be called “simple.” But at least we can make it less hard if we practice some of these hacks…
How to Make Christmas Cookies with Little Kids
Tip #1: Break up the cookie-making tasks into two or even three separate days. As in:
- Mix up the cookie dough one day, refrigerate. Done.
- Roll out, cut out, and bake cookies a different day. Freeze cookies to frost a different day. Phew.
- Frost and decorate cookies. Treat!
All three of these tasks make a nice mess, and take some effort and time. So I’ve found that if I divide each part of the cookie-making process into different days I’m not as exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed by bowls, pans, cookie cutters, frosting, sprinkles, flour, flour, flour (you KNOW what I’m talking about).
Tip #2: Wash your kids’ hands before you get started, then pretend you don’t see them licking the flour off their hands, touching each other with cookie cutters, and wiping their frosting on their pants.
Listen, I’ve decided that all the slobber and germs that go onto the cookies bake away in the oven. This is a scientific…fact that my mom-brain decided was true and I stand by my findings. It’s way too difficult to keep a 3-year-old’s hand out of her mouth during the cookie-making process. And if you’re like me and baking cookies with kids ages 9, 8, 5, 3, 3, and 2 all bets are off.
Keep reminding them to keep their hands clean, but otherwise don’t worry about them doing what they ultimately can’t help. Keep telling yourself, “this will bake off in the oven, this will bake off in the oven…” Smile at your kids, shake the flour off your hands, and move on.
Tip #3: Use only one cookie cutter at a time.
That is to say, when we roll out and cut out cookies, I don’t let my kids have a free-for-all. I control the cookie cutter, helping each child take a turn cutting out a cookie, then I hand it to the next kid for a turn. Everyone gets a turn with the star, everyone gets a turn with the tree, and on we go.
Often, I use the hand-over-hand method to help them cut their cookie so that it goes all the way through the dough and so that they don’t cut their cookie right in the middle of the dough.
Tip #4: After the kids get tired of cutting out cookies, I give them a little bit of dough to roll on their own, cut, smash, lick, drop on the floor…
THIS does not go into the oven, but instead into the trash. I have my limits. But it does keep them busy while I finish rolling and cutting cookies to finish off the job and clean up.
Tip #5 Avoid cookie cutters with appendages.
It can be devastating for kids and frustrating for parents when Santa arms and reindeer legs break off over and over. I’ve learned through the years to never use cookie cutters that have long, skinny parts.
Even the snowmen you see in this photo were a bit challenging. So we didn’t make very many and instead made lots of trees and stars!
Our kids LOVE making Christmas cookies so all of the effort is worth it so that we give them great memories. Try these tips and see if they help you enjoy the process too.
Have any other great tips?
P.S. My hands-down favorite recipe for Christmas Cookies: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies