Here is the scenario. You are trying to decorate dozens of sugar and gingerbread cookies. At your elbow is an enthusiastic toddler-baker that desperately wants to participate. She has the desire, but not the skills. What do you do?
Fail number one: Don’t give them a full bag of icing expecting positive results. Since most young children do not have a good understanding of “don’t squeeze it too hard”, you will end up with a mess. She squeezed the icing bag (too hard), it exploded out of the top and went everywhere. This picture was taken after we cleaned her up.
Fail number two: Don’t let her take control of a full sprinkle bottle. The first cookie she decorated came out 3-D. The innocent gingerbread angel was buried under 2 inches of blue sprinkles. However, we decided to do what Taylor Swift suggests and just “shake it off!”
Her mom came up with a brilliant idea. Let her paint her cookies. I dug around in my catch-all drawer and found a suitable paint brush. The icing was squeezed into a bowl and she happily went about her work.
Next we provided her with a sprinkle container that had chunkier sprinkles in it. It was the kind that has 6 compartments. She liked opening and closing the different lids and the sprinkles didn’t flow quite as freely. Another way to keep the sprinkles under control is to plug some of the holes in the top of a regular sprinkle container. Tape should work. I suggest hiding the tape underneath the cap, so they can’t see it. We didn’t get a chance to try this one, but I will next time around.
I labeled an empty cardboard box with her name. When she finished one of her masterpieces, she set it in the box to dry. Later, she proudly packed them all up to take home.
Our cookie decorating started off a little rocky due to our inexperience. But, with a few adjustments, it ended with a happy, satisfied child, who felt included in the day’s activities. Hopefully, our fails and solutions will help a little in your cookie decorating adventures.