Want Modern Montessori tips in your inbox?
Want Modern Montessori tips in your inbox?

Practical Life Activities: Holiday Cookie Making with Toddlers

The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to include your child in food and gift preparation. Cookies are a wonderful combination of both!

Making cookies and presenting them to a loved one exposes your child to the ritual of gift-giving as well as the steps we take in the kitchen to make the cookies.

Repeating this activity several times over the coming months will help your child master the motor skills required to add and stir ingredients and begin to memorize many of the steps.

Here is a Montessori approach to cookie baking that you can adjust to meet the needs of your child. 

Baking for Valentine's Day

Toddler-friendly Cookie Baking

First, prepare the environment before you invite your child to join you.

Pre-measure the ingredients and put them in individual small bowls at a low table. Measuring is an added challenge for a young child and can distract from the parts of the process that they can do successfully.

They can help dump the ingredients one at a time into a bowl and then use a child-sized wooden spoon to stir it up. They may need your help at the end to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.

Note: For the youngest helpers, you may want to limit their involvement to placing sprinkles on cookies or frosting baked cookies. 

In the video below, we prepared the dough and the tools before we invited Logan to participate in

  • cutting the dough with cookie cutters
  • adding sprinkles to the cookies
  • transferring the cookies to the baking sheet

It might help you to envision which steps you will enable your child to practice.

If you plan to include your child in rolling out the dough, divide the dough into 2 or 3 parts to make it more manageable for your little one.

  • Put the first portion on a cutting board with flour, and then show them how to use their rolling pin to roll out the dough. Once it is thin enough, put the rolling pin aside.
  • Show your little one how to push down a cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Child-friendly cookie cutters are great to avoid sharp edges!
  • Lift up the unused dough and show them how to slide a spatula under each cookie to transfer them to a baking sheet. Continue until the dough is used up (or your child loses interest).

If you have a large set of cookie cutters, you might select 2-3 shapes for your child to choose from for each cookie they cut out. Keep the rest put away to reduce frustration and clutter in the process.

 

Place a bowl of sprinkles next to the baking sheet, and show your child how to use the pincer grip to grasp sprinkles between your thumb and pointer finger, and place the sprinkles on the cookie. Let them have a turn. Chances are that your little one will heavily decorate some cookies more than others. Try to refrain from making a comment on how they choose to allocate the sprinkles. Their confidence and their enjoyment of the process matters more than the aesthetics of the finished product.

When the cookies are baked and cooled, your child can use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a serving platter, and you can admire how beautiful they are and how good they smell! A child-sized spatula will be the easiest for your little one to maneuver. It is tremendous for your little one’s confidence to know they have meaningfully contributed to the holiday meal.

***

Children of all ages yearn to be a part of their world. They want to participate in adult activities, and they want to believe that their work matters. The holidays offer an abundance of opportunities for your little one to contribute to the special meals that take place at this time. The positive effects are even greater because they sense that these meals really matter. Creating ways for them to engage in meaningful activity around holiday food will make this time even more special for them!

Below you’ll find information about the kit we’ve put together to make cooking together easy!

Montessori Cooking Together Kit

encourages little ones to build skills and confidence in the kitchen as they develop healthy eating habits
$ 100
  • Wooden Stand for Recipe Cards
  • 10 Innovative Recipe Cards
  • Child-Sized Wooden Spoon, Whisk, and Masher
  • 3 Bowls for Food Prep, Small Pitcher, and Silicone Cutting Board
  • Melon Baller, Spreader, and Tongs
  • Egg Slicer
  • Wooden Crinkle Cutter
18 Months+

Share story

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Promotion expires on August 31, 2022, at 11:59 PM PST. This promotion is only available on your first Monti Kids subscription purchase. Offer available on Monti Kids Program Levels regularly priced at $195. You may sign up online at montikids.com by entering code FRIENDS22 at checkout to take advantage of this offer. Offer is not redeemable for cash or credit. Cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Offer does not include any applicable taxes. Offer cannot be used for gift card, Kits, Spaces or Courses purchases. Monti Kids reserves the right to change or cancel this promotion at any time. Free shipping applies to the contiguous United States only. Free standard shipping only.