I always thought of sugar cookies as the ugly step-sister of baking. People always made them at holidays, but no one really wanted to eat them. Then I had kids, and I realized that sugar cookies are actually rather fantastic. If you have or are around kids, then baking sugar cookies together is a must-try activity. Here’s why.
I know, I know, I’m writing about sugar cookies, and the first benefit I list is nutrition. Believe it or not, I’m not joking. No, sugar cookies will never be a super health food. However, you can pack a surprising amount of nutrition into them. I have successfully replaced the butter with pureed avocado, added ground flax seed, and made other healthy additions or substitutions. If you are going to make a treat together, sneak in some nutrition to their cookies. Kids will still love them.
This is hands-down the most important reason why you should make sugar cookies with your kids. It’s fun. My kids all love baking sugar cookies because the whole process is a lot of fun, and it allows them to do something together with you. Make sure that they are involved and feel important. My two-year-old has his own mini rolling pin and loves rolling out his own cookies. It doesn’t matter that they’re not as even as they are when I roll them out. He feels involved and important, he has fun doing it, and he still eats the end result. Remember that your kids will have the most fun when you let yourself have fun too.
Baking sugar cookies requires a lot of steps that are really good for coordination. Rolling out the cookies is good for gross motor skills, and cutting out the shapes and decorating them requires fine motor skills. This is a fun way to help your kids to improve their coordination and motor skills.
Sugar cookies allow your kids to show off their creativity. Provide a variety of cookie cutters, but let them create their own shapes as well. My kids like coloring the cookies themselves and decorating them afterwards. There’s nothing quite as happy as a toddler with a plate of cookies and plenty of icing and sprinkles to decorate them with. Older kids will get involved with the creative side of baking cookies as well.
You can make baking cookies together an educational experience. Discuss the process with your kids and let them do age appropriate parts of the baking. Measuring the ingredients, for example, helps to reinforce counting for younger children. Older children could do the math to double or half a recipe. Letting kids read the recipe or the ingredients labels could help support their reading. Older kids can discuss the science behind the baking process and understand the proportions of ingredients well. Your kids will be having so much fun that they won’t realize that they are also learning.