Christmas Cookies – Montessori Style
During the holiday season, it can be difficult to find activities to keep your little ones busy; particularly when you’re trying to finish the Christmas cooking! To keep children entertained and involved, we’ve broken down a simple Christmas cookie recipe into Montessori activities that are perfect for toddler and preschool aged helpers!
By taking the time to explain each instruction, and allowing your child to do it by themselves, they’ll have the opportunity to strengthen their fine motor skills and independence through sensory exploration. The end result will hopefully be a tasty treat, but even if the biscuits don’t work out as planned the first-time round, you’ll definitely make some special memories!
- 1/2 cups of butter (softened)
- 2 cups of agave nectar or honey
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Flat baking tray
- Baking paper
- Cookie cutters
Preparing the Dough (Motor Skills):
- Measuring: Help your child measure out the ingredients. Guide them by showing them how to use the measuring cups and spoons, and explain the importance of following the amounts on the recipe. This is a great opportunity to discuss the science of cooking, and why specific measurements are so important when you’re following a recipe!
- Cutting: Help your child cut the butter with a rounded knife and blend with until no lumps remain. This is a great activity opportunity to allow your child to beat the butter and and observe how the consistency changes over time.
- Pouring: Let your child combine the ingredients they have measured. Beat the eggs and vanilla, and then add them to the bowl. Then add the dry ingredients. Explain to your child why it is important to prepare the wet ingredients first, and then gradually add the dry ingredients, so that the consistency of the batter is correct.
- Stirring: Have your child stir everything together.
Once the mixture is combined, cover and chill the dough for two hours. Alternatively, chill overnight to make the biscuit making process two defined steps.
Rolling Out the Dough and Cutting the Biscuits (Sensorial):
- Rolling: Put some flour down on a flat surface, and then invite your child to roll out the chilled dough. Aim to have the dough at a consistency that is ½ inch thick.
- Cutting: Help your child cut out the biscuits using various shaped cookie cutters, and place them on a baking tray that is lined with baking paper. Children love this stage of this recipe because it allows them to experiment with different tools. Allow them to experiment with the texture of the dough, and ask them questions such as: “what does the dough feel like”’ and “what does it smell like?”
- Bake for 7 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Allow to cool.
Decorating: Using your choice of toppings, help your child decorate their biscuits. Red, white and green icing is a great option for Christmas!
Cleaning (Practical Life):
Once the activity is completed, and the biscuits are baking in the oven, invite your child to clean up. Ask them to collect the tools you have been using, assist with washing the dishes, drying, and packing away.
By including your child in the cleaning process, children learn to respect their materials and environment, which fosters good habits for the future.
Finally, enjoy eating or gifting your biscuit creations! Your child will love being able to show others the results of their work, so giving some biscuits as a present is a great idea.
Recipe and method adapted from dailymom.com