Gwen and I look forward to playdates with my neighbor's girls, a creative, thoughtful 5 year old and a vivacious, free-spirit 2+ year old. How do I know Gwen likes going to my neigbor's place, you might ask? Well, she's gotten the route there memorised :p
For me, a stay-home mama, the playdate is is important for my mental health. Great company, heart-to-heart conservations and watching happy kids play (well, most of the time anyway), it's a sanity saver.
For Gwen, it's an introduction to social situations and being around other children. At her age, she does parallel play, which means being comfortable playing beside her peers. I like that she gets the chance to practise that during playdates.
Anyhoo, recently, I suggested making Halloween-themed cookies for our playdate. It was somewhat messy play, required prior prep work to be done, but well worth the effort I would say!
Halloween Cookie Decoration Playdate for Preschooler and Toddlers!
I was delighted to see my neighbor's 5 year old shape witches and monsters with lots of originality and creative flair, and her 2+ year old toddler being engaged in the process for a good half-hour. This was huge progress from our previous baking session a couple of months ago when she was only interested to snack on chocolate chips lol.
Gwen toyed with her cookie dough a little and spent majority of the time observing and mimicking the older children. It's nice to see her picking up new skills from other children!
Here's how the cookies turned out! Decoration were mainly by the kids! *applauds
- Differently colored cookie dough (I used the recipe here, but replaced honey with naturally derived food coloring)
- Naturally derived food coloring (Green comes from spinach puree, pale pink from strawberry puree, brown from cocoa powder and pale orange from carrot puree)
- Decorative food items (chocolate chips, coconut flakes)
- Baking tools (Baking tray, baking mat, rolling pin, shape cutters)
On hindsight, while the cookies were extremely healthy and nutritious, they didn't quite appeal to the older children's palates haha. Gwen's still doing okay with blander foods, so it hadn't occurred to me that I shouldn't omit the honey!
I would recommend keeping honey in the mixture but making more concentrated puree to bring out the colors strongly. Alternatively, pair the cookies with flavored milk to entice more bites!
- Be prepared for messy play! Ensure wipes and cloths are within reach for the kids to take care of their own mess, and for you to come in quickly to help.
- Limit ingredients! Don't put out any ingredient you're not comfortable with cleaning up.
- Provide ingredients that are taste-safe or better yet edible before being baked! Blanched almond flour cookie dough is great in this aspect vs. other cookie doughs especially those with raw eggs which carry salmonella risk.
- Test the kneadablity of the cookie dough before play! Young children are still working on their fine motor skills so dough that's too firm or too soft is hard for them to manipulate.
- Try to provide individual tools and resources for every child because it's difficult for young children to share and take turns.
- Always supervise play! Watch out for kids still mouthing items because small baking ingredients could present choking hazards.
To follow Gwen's play adventures, check out @miraculove_sg (Instagram) or A Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group.
This post is also featured on Bump Baby and You UK.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.