Friday, December 12, 2014

Getting toddlers involved in the holidays

Toddlers are such a handful at times, but when things are good, it's pure magic with them. This year the spirit of Christmas is making a big impact on my 2 1/2 year old, Penny, and I have been going through a list of holiday activities with her. Here's a few ideas to help you get going on how to get your toddler involved during the holidays:

1. Picking out the tree together
2. Creating ornaments (we bought a couple ceramic ones from our local craft store and I let her paint them)
4. Cookies! Check out our experience below
5. More Christmas candy, like dipping chocolate covered pretzels and decorating with sprinkles
5. Make garlands using pom poms, popcorn, cheerios, macaroni noodles, cotton balls, beads
6. Hand print crafts
7. Felt board stories
8. Read Christmas books together
9. Make scented playdoh
10. Create Christmas cards
11. More craft ideas: make candy canes with beads and pipe cleaners, Popsicle stick ornaments, salt dough hand and foot prints, pom pom wreaths

I'm a baker at heart and it's been a long time dream of mine for the day when my daughters can help create goodies for our family. So last Christmas Adam made a kitchen step stool station for the girls that will safely bring them to counter level. While Ruby rode along for the ride, Penny and I got started with decorating our first cookies together.

Because fun and being mindful of the time (for both the toddler's and infant's attention span!) was of the utmost importance, I used Toll House Rolled & Ready Cookie Dough. Toll House has 4 different flavors of pre-rolled cookie dough to choose from, and I chose sugar cookie because that's a family favorite! The dough was already rolled out the the appropriate thickness so from Penny's standpoint the fun was ready to begin!

I showed her how to gently press the cutter into the cookie dough (just like how we practice with playdoh) and I moved the cut shapes to a cookie sheet for her. Following the instructions on the package, we let them bake and fully cool before moving on to the decorating portion of our activity. Meanwhile, we played with the playdoh from item #9 above because she wasn't done using the cookie cutters!
For the decorating portion I made a simple frosting using solid coconut oil.
4 cups of powdered sugar

1/2 cup solid coconut oil
5 T milk
1 t vanilla extract
food coloring
Cream together the coconut oil and powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in milk and vanilla until it is smooth and stiff. Add a couple drops of food coloring until you get the color you desire. 

And then I was reminded of the valuable lesson about toddlers. Even when your plans are laid out perfectly, things hardly ever go as planned. 

Once the cookies were done baking and had cooled, I showed Penny the frosting that I had made and laid out all the sprinkles for her to choose from. SUPER excited. I slathered on the frosting onto each cookie and laid them out onto a piece of butcher paper for her.

And then things took a 180° turn. Suddenly, according to the toddler, all sprinkles MUST be put away and the frosting MUST be removed from the cookies. NOW. Like "mama give me a wipe, no no no no frosting on these cookies pleaaaaaaaaaaaase!"

Friends, life's greatest mysteries are not about Nessie, the Bermuda Triangle or Stonehenge. It's toddlers. No one will ever understand why.

And there you have it. Mothers dream about the day when we get to bake cookies with our sweets for the first time and how magical it will be. In my case, I was spared the flour dust parties (thanks to the pre-made cookie dough!), and I even thought it was smooth sailing until the end...and then true to form, my daughter makes it interesting at the very end!

Find out more about Rolled & Ready Cookie Dough Sheets 
Share your favorite toddler friendly holiday activity (or toddler friend holiday activity fail!)

Disclosure: Thank you to Nestle Toll House for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to create and decorate delicious cookies with NestlĂ© Toll House Rolled & Ready Cookie Dough Sheets!


  1. My daughter and I do crafts and bake cookies together. We also decorated the house together this year!

  2. We didn't get very far making cookies because the toddler wanted to help and grabbed the eggs, spilling them all over. I had to chuckle though because even though good memories take work, they are worth it!

  3. This is adorable! I think my toddler would love doing this as well, but I'm hesitant since he's also quite a rascal and I'm sure he'd start flinging ingredients at me at some point ;)!

  4. So many fun ideas for getting toddlers involved with the holidays! And your little baker is adorable!



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