Holidays with three small children is all about candy canes, wrapping presents, hot cocoa, ornaments, stockings...
Scratch that. Holidays with three small children is all about the short-cuts.
Now, I don't want to short-cut the kids out of making special holiday memories, but cutting a corner here and there never ruined a Christmas, right?
When the Christmas songs start playing on the radio, my girls automatically turn into little baking elves.
"Let's Bake Cookies, mama!"
I can blame it on their grandma, who is a recipe contest winning machine! She's taught them how to wield a rolling pin with excellent mastery - for preschool aged bakers, that is.
While, their grandma may have the patience for measuring spoons and mixers, it's hard for me to coordinate three girls mixing in one bowl, so it's time for a shortcut.
Baking Cookies With A Preschooler - The Shortcut Edition
Step 1. Stock up on cleaning supplies at Costco
It's no secret that during the holidays between visitors and baking projects, I have to take a shopping trip to Costco to stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, and of course cleaning products.
Having just moved into a new house with laminate/wood flooring, I'm a big fan of Swiffer products from P&G to keep my floors shiny.
The second reason I love Swiffer, is that my girls can join in the cleaning. Rather than pushing around a heavy vacuum, my girls enjoy taking turns with the Swiffer, learning how to clean up their own messes while having fun and practicing responsibility.
Step 2. Buy a box of baking or cake mix!
Instead of measuring out flour, butter, sugar and hunting for multiple tiny spoons for spices - get to the baking and decorating faster by purchasing a baking mix.
If you can find a baking mix that only requires water, oil and an egg, you'll save yourself a lot of time and headache!
Preschoolers can measure water and crack an egg without making a huge mess, right?
Well, at least it will be less of a mess than they'd make with flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon, yes? Yes!
Step 3. Invite them to choose only 1-2 cookie cutters
Limiting the quantity of cookie cutters used, meant that my preschoolers had more repetition and were able to master the variables of those particular shapes.
Rolling the appropriate thickness of dough, and using the spatula to transfer the cookie to a baking sheet takes coordination and changes with each shape used.
Choosing only their two favorite holiday shaped cookie cutters seemed to do the trick to boost their confidence as they practiced on only these shapes.
Step 4. Be sure to have plenty of flour within reach
Any type of cookie dough you end up using will inevitably become sticky in those little preschooler fingers.
Having a little bowl of flour for the kiddos to dust the dough with will help limit meltdowns and frustration at dough sticking to the rolling pin, cutting board, spatula, etc.
Step 5. Take a deep breath and expect a mess
As long as you expect the worst, you'll be pleasantly surprised at anything short of disaster!
Despite choosing a baking mix that didn't require a lot of measuring or dry messy ingredients - the above mess is what happens with preschoolers even if the flour is just for dusting the cutting board.
Just remember, you are creating memories that will last a lifetime. Flour on the floor can be cleaned up and your house returned to normal in a matter of minutes.
Let it be.
Step 6. Use Swiffer Wet Mopping Refills to clean up
There are many options for cleaning up with Swiffer. Both wet and dry mopping pad refills are available at Costco, as well as the whole sweeper kit if you don't have one yet!
Step 7. Relax and enjoy the #HolidayMoments you've made
Can't remember what you need to prepare for holiday visitors?
Check out this list of must-have P&G products available at Costco, you won't want to be left without: P&G Necessitities
What do you think is a MUST-HAVE for baking with preschoolers during the holidays?