It’s the holiday time and cookie exchanges are upon us so consider this for an activity when looking for something fun to do with your kiddo in the next few weeks! Making cookies is not only fun but can be beneficial for your kiddo in many ways. I am going to use chocolate chip cookies as my example but please use whatever your favorite recipe is and don’t use this if you’re child has allergies – make an allergy friendly version!
This is also an activity that can be graded depending on the age of your child. For instance, toddlers can help with the dumping and mixing while grade school kids can help with the measuring and reading directions, etc.
My nephew came over the other day to hang out and we decided it would be fun to make some chocolate chip cookies. We got set up with the cookbook, ingredients, bowl and measuring utensils and went to work.
We both read the instructions so we could sequence what ingredients were supposed to go in and in what order. He was in charge of measuring the amounts (I made sure he had the correct utensils for this). He did need some help with the butter since it called for 2/3 cup and the bars were in half cup increments. We got a little fraction practice in there with pencils and papers! The measuring involved pouring liquids into spoons, so he needed to work on his fine motor control with bilateral coordination because he had to hold the spoon steady while pouring a liquid such as vanilla into it and then he had to transfer it into the bowl without spilling too much of it. He got to crack the eggs and dump them into the bowl being careful not to get any shells in. This required fine motor manipulation and force regulation (which I was quite impressed how well he did – I thought for sure I would be picking out shells). The measuring the dry ingredients made a bit more of a mess as his ability to transfer the flour or sugar from the scoop into the cup left a little to be desired in the accuracy department. We did it though and even used a knife to level off the flour – again more fine motor control. For the brown sugar he gave up on the spoon and just used his hands to pack it into the measuring cup nice and tight. This provided some great proprioceptive input through his arms.
We did cheat on the mixing and used my mom’s electric mixer because we were running out of time but using a spoon is a great way to build up upper extremity strength as well as using a helper hand to hold the bowl steady while mixing with the other hand. Once the dough was all mixed we got to the fun part. We measured out the chocolate chips and he used his hands for mixing them in. This gave him a lot of sensory input (messy play) as well as hand strengthening. Lastly we used our hands to make the dough into cookie size balls and space them evenly on the tray for us to cook.
Not only did we have a great time making the cookies but my nephew also got to see the result of his efforts (and enjoy the treat as well)!