Friday, December 21st, 2007
How to Host a Toddler Cookie Decorating Party
Hosting a cookie decorating party is simple.
No, it’s insanely simple. My wife devised the perfect plan. We asked our daughter who should be invited, then called up the parents and told them to bring a dozen cookies.
Yep, we baked nothing. We merely provided the toppings and the venue.
What toppings? Flaked coconut, spice gumdrops, raisins, marshmallows, chopped macadamia nuts and hazelnuts and Reese’s peanut butter cup baking pieces. Oh, and six types of cake topper sprinkles.
We also had homemade butter cream frosting in red, green and white, in cake decorating squeeze bags, as well as bowls for spreading with a butter knife. Oops, yeah, the frosting took a small amount of time to make, but everything else was store bought.
The toppings were placed in the middle of a table, and the kids were seated with cutting boards in front of them as a decorating surface. Large plates would also work.
Each parent assisted in the decorating, particularly with applying or spreading the icing. Two icing spreaders and extra-wide spreading knives were used.
Completed cookies were moved to a staging area on the kitchen counter that was lined with parchment paper, although aluminum foil or wax paper would also work.
The activity entertained the kids, 5 girls and 1 boy, ages 3 to 4, for 45 minutes, then they washed their hands and played around the house. Consider the attention span of the kids you invite. Most of my daughter’s male friends would never sit still for such an activity.
Sometime later my daughter returned to the table and when the other kids took notice, they also decorated cookies for another half-hour.
Some kids meticulously attended a total of three cookies whiles others were a mini production house, working their way through ten cookies.
A Note about Sweets
We only eat candy on special occasions, usually holidays and birthdays. Our 3-year-old daughter had her dental check-up last week and has perfect teeth. We aim to keep it that way. We classify our December cookie-making party as a holiday event.
What Didn’t Work:
- Full-size marshmallows. They were okay, but we’ll use mini-marshmallows next time. They made the cookies look… interesting. The kids completely didn’t care. Just plunk that sucker on there.
- Too few cake sprinkle containers. Our six types of sprinkles were in one six-tab dispenser. Next time we’ll buy individual shakers.
- Narrow metal cake frosting tips. Next time we’ll only use wide-mouth tips that are easier to squeeze icing through.
- Difficult icing bags. Squeezing an icing bag is like squeezing a toothpaste tube that is open at both ends. Adults twist the far end into a knot, but toddlers can’t hold that knot closed. Next time we’ll add twist-ties or rubber bands.
- Parents brought more than enough cookies. One child has a father with a gluten allergy, so he brought cookies made from gluten-free almond flour.
- Cookies were communally shared, so a kid who brought gingerbread men could also decorate moose cookies, and so forth.
- Spiced gumdrops were a favorite topping. One child put them on all of her cookies because they were colorful, then near the end tasted one and decided she didn’t like them. Oops!
- Everything else worked. Leftover cookies were placed in plastic bags and decorated cookies were put back into the containers parents brought with them. After the party ended, we decorated a few more cookies that some parents left us and walked them over to our neighbors.
(Those eyeballs are left over from a gingerbread house kit, brought by one of the parents.)
That last snowman is an example of my wife’s cookie decorating prowess.