Friday, December 14, 2012

Cookie Decorating Party! - Tips for Cookie Decorating with Kids

Okay, so I wasn't sure whether or not I was crazy to let my kids invite a bunch of friends over for a cookie decorating party.  I was pretty sure I was crazy...but we did it anyway and it turned out awesome.  Even though the cookies are a lot of work, sometimes I feel like it's easier to have a bunch of friends over at one time rather than arranging a ton of different play dates...and I think it's fun for the kids to have a party for something other than a birthday when one child is the center of attention.

Now I am lucky that we live almost next door to the kids' school, so they could all just walk over after school instead of figuring out rides for everyone or driving some poor bus driver crazy.  It's also nice (and crazy) to have all the guests arrive at one time, rather than trickle in as parents drop them off.

By the time I remembered to pull my camera out, a couple of the kids had left the table to go play.  In total, in the morning Becca and 3 other preschoolers decorated cookies in the morning.  Then after school, Katie and Seth had 14 kindergarteners and second graders over.  (I know...crazy...but there were even a few who couldn't come.  We just didn't want anyone to feel excluded.)

It was fun to see the kids having so much fun creating with all kinds of sugar.  They each seemed to have their own preferred method of sugar high.

Like the frosting mountains...

The sprinkles...
The girl who gave every cookies eyes, no matter the shape...
The ordered cookies...
The ones so loaded, you could hardly see the cookies...
 The self-portrait cookie...

Overall, I was presently surprised with how smoothy the cookie decorating went considering how many not-so-old kids were involved.  So if you're crazy enough to want to try this yourself, here are a few tips...
  • Have everything ready ahead of time.  You don't want bored kids standing around waiting for you to finish mixing up the frosting.  I had all the cookies, frosting, and candy served out before the kids walked in the door.   This picture shows about half of the toppings and 1/4 of the cookies.
  • Put the frosting into lots of small dishes.  This way all the kids have easy access to frosting.  They can all be working at once.  I used our baby food jars.  I think there were somewhere around 20 baby food jars that were half to 3/4 full of frosting.  They were the perfect size.  One plastic knife for each container.
  • Lots of frosting in ziploc baggies too.  I just put one smallish scoop from my mini-rubber spatula in each baggie.  (Probably about 2 tablespoons?)  Then I cut the corner off the bag.  The kids can use them to pipe the frosting on in lines or dots.  These were definitely a hit with the older kids.  There were 1 or 2 of each color at each table.   (This picture shows half of them.)
  • Sprinkles.  KIDS.  LOVE.  SPRINKLES.  I stocked up on the generic brand of sprinkles a couple months ago because I noticed they sell out of the red and green cheap brand of sprinkles around Christmas.  I know...too late to help you for this year, but maybe it can help for next year.  Also, make sure the sprinkles have a shaker top.  If they don't, put them in a dish with a small (think baby food) spoon.

  • Candy in SMALL dishes.  That way if one kid REALLY loads up their cookies with one kind of candy, you can refill the dish for the other kids...or not.  If there's not a ton in the dishes, then they're naturally a little limited.  If you need some of the candy for another project later, set it aside ahead of time.  Whatever candy you set out WILL be gone.
  • Lots of paper plates...and write their names on them.  Our paper plates were on the big side, but you could only fit 4 or 5 cookies on them.  There were a few kids that only wanted to decorate 1 or 2 cookies, and several that were having a ball and wanted to decorate a lot and have enough to share with their whole family.  You don't want them to have to stack their cookies when the frosting is still moist.  And it was crazy enough trying to sort out everyone's cookies when their parents got there WITH their names on.  Not sure how we would have managed without the names.
  • Have some filling, non sugary snacks.  I realized about 15 minutes before the kids were due home that I was about to have 16 hungry kids in the house and they weren't going to be satisfied with just I threw a cookie sheet full of chicken nuggets in the oven.  I let the kids know there were chicken nuggets if they were hungry, and most of them wandered over and ate some once they'd decorated a few cookies.  They ended up eating two cookie sheets full by the time they all left.  If I'd planned ahead a little more, I would have had a bunch of grapes to go with the chicken nuggets.

Have a tip of your own that I didn't think of?  Please share in the comments.

Check back in a day or so Click here for my recipe for the BEST sugar cookie cut-outs.

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