Target Age Class: 3-5
Area of Improvement: Creativity and Mathematics
Calling all cookies lovers! You can improve your child’s creativity and basic geometry skills while enjoying a tasty treat. Here is how decorating some sugar cookies can turn into a fun, open ended activity that all the members of your family will be more than happy to participate in.
First, prepare sugar cookie dough according to your recipe or open up a package of premade sugar cookie dough. Roll out the dough so that it’s thin and flat on a floured surface.
Next, hand your child a round cookie cutter. Ask your young child to name the shape of the cookie cutter. Together, press the circle cookie cutter into the dough, arrange them on a baking sheet, and bake the cookies as directed by your recipe or package instructions.
While the cookies are baking, select some possible cookie toppings from your pantry like mini pretzels, chocolate candies, gumdrops, frosting, piece of cereal, licorice cut into triangular pieces, square shaped candies like Starbursts, and even sprinkles; just to name a few.
Begin pointing out the toppings that have defined shapes and can clearly be identified as a triangle, square, rectangle, or a circle. Then, begin pointing out the objects that look like a basic geometric shape and begin discussing why. For example a mini pretzel and a gumdrop have something in common with a circle because they have rounded edges. It is also a good time to discuss how some shapes are flat or 2 dimensional and others are solid and 3 dimensional. Describe how 3 dimensional objects can stand on their own, and point out their face (flat surfaces), edge (lines) and vertices (points that form where two edges touch).
Once the cookies are done baking and have cooled off, help your child’s creative juices flow! Challenge them to create an object out of the round cookie by becoming inspired by the toppings spread out in front of them. You can model your creative thinking for them by speaking out loud. Children often times learn best when mums model their thought process because it teaches children how to think.
Consider making a reindeer cookie. You can frost the cookie so it serves as “glue” for the toppings (be sure to explain this to your child). Then, take two mini pretzels and press them into each side of the cookie, angled like antlers. Use sprinkles for eyes and a red chocolate candy to represent the reindeer’s nose, which can be placed toward the bottom of the cookie. You can explain what inspired you to decorate the cookie as you did (you can say you thought the pretzels reminded you of antlers) and point out the shapes you used in your creation.
Next, encourage your child to scan through the toppings and encourage them to share their thought process. If they are struggling, hand them a topping and ask them what they think of when they see it and what shape it resembles. Then together brainstorm other objects that share that shape’s attributes. Continue your discussion until your child is creating their design.
You may want to decorate quickly, because they toppings and cookies are sure to quickly disappear. Such a simple activity can turn into a great learning opportunity through demonstration and discussion. Yum!