Letting Kids Help With: Cookies

Cookies! What kid doesn't love cookies? And they just don't get better than homemade. (Sorry, Girl Scouts.) Last weekend, I came across some canned pumpkin leftover from the fall, so I decided to whip up some pumpkin oatmeal cookies, which my boy loves. A couple of simple substitutes makes them compatible with his allergies and doesn't affect the taste (check out the recipe).

There are a few easy ways to involve kiddos in the process:

  • Measuring and counting. When I've baked with my nieces and nephew at the holidays, I've taken the opportunity to work on math skills. Measuring, counting, cutting recipes in half (or — who are we kidding? — doubling recipes) is great when kids get older.
  • Turning on the mixer. When she was about 3 or 4, my oldest niece always loved flipping the switch on my standing mixer.
  • Dropping the cookies. As they get older, kiddos can help roll dough into balls, they'll love decorating cookies. For simple drop cookies, older kids (with stronger hands) could do this too. (I like using a small cookie scoop to make it easy.) But my little toddler struggled with dropping the cookies entirely on his own, so helped in two ways: Spooning the dough onto the cookie sheet from a spoon I held:
 Hold the dough on one spoon, and let your kiddo spoon it onto the baking sheet.

Hold the dough on one spoon, and let your kiddo spoon it onto the baking sheet.

And telling me where the next cookie should go:

 Toddlers like to be in charge. They can help by directing where you drop the next cookie.

Toddlers like to be in charge. They can help by directing where you drop the next cookie.