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Last week we took a break from our regular learning time activities and schedule. Operation Christmas Cookies commenced! The kiddos spent the week researching, planning, preparing, baking, and decorating hundreds of cookies. It was quite the project!
Cookies are prepared for:
1. Our Grandparent Christmas Party
2. Christmas Cookie Deliveries to Neighbors
3. Christmas Cookie Deliveries to Community Helpers.
SO MUCH LEARNING takes place as we do this! If you've ever wondered what one can learn from the process of selecting a recipe, reading through it, finding ingredients, baking, decorating, arranging, and serving, I've made a fabulous list, broken down by subject. I'm sure I've missed some.
1. Letter Identification & Sounds
2. Reading Skills
3. Reading Comprehension
4. Vocabulary Words
5. Grammar-Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs
1. Number Identification
6. Sequencing/Ordinal Numbers
9. Telling Time
10. Spacial Reasoning
11. Greater Than/Less Than
1. How Temperature Changes Objects
2. Solids vs. Liquids
3. Solutions & Mixtures
2. Heat Safety
3. Personal Hygiene (Germs)
3. Community Helpers
4. My City
5. Grace & Courtesy
5. Spooning Liquids & Solids
6. Opening & Closing Containers
8. Transferring Liquids & Solids
For those looking for speech and occupational therapy activities, baking is the ultimate task, requiring muscle coordination & strength, fine motor skills, sensory integration etc. I could go on and on. Over the course of the week, we reviewed so many lessons and skills. This doesn't even take into consideration the research and preparing that went into this task.
Each older kiddo was asked to come up with six different kinds of cookies they wanted to include in our Operation Christmas Cookies. I chose six because I knew how many cookies we would need, but also to encourage them to try new things. Each kiddo spent no less than 30 minutes on Pinterest looking for cookies they may enjoy. (Pinterest is such a good visual tool to help kiddos learn planning skills.) Bulldozer had the extra task of making sure cookies would be safe for him with his food allergies. Sunshine chose two kinds of cookies that she could eat from four choices I gave her. I've included links to as many recipes as I can, below. I hope you enjoy! You'll also see some fun pictures of the kiddos working throughout the week. It didn't occur to me to take pictures the first two days we baked, which is why there are less pictures of each kiddo, after Dinomite.
Dinomite's Cookie List1. Chocolate Crinkles
2. Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Sugar Cookies (recipe origin unknown)
5. Cinnamon Roll Cookies from Sprinkle Some Sugar
6. Candy Bar Pretzel Bites from The Gunny Sack
1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe created by a friend. Check post comments for recipe.)
2. Gingerbread Cookies
3. Easy No Bake Snowman Cookies from inspired by familia
4. Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
5. Chocolate Blossom Cookies from Meal Plan Girls
6. No Bake Cookie Dough Truffles
1. Italian Cookies
2. Peanut Blossoms
3. Stained Glass Cookie Ornaments from The Comfort of Cooking
4. Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
5. Oreo Pretzel Christmas Cookie Dough Bark
6. Cherry Chocolate Kisses from The Curvy Carrot
1. Candy Cane Cookies (recipe origin unknown)
2. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (Use chocolate chip cookie recipe. Omit 1/4 cup flour and use cocoa instead.)
To accommodate food allergies, coconut spread and/or oil was used instead of margarine or butter. Water was used in place of milk. Ener-G Egg Replacer was used in place of eggs. Nut free, soy free, dairy free chocolate chips were purchased for the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Over the course of the week, we made 75% of our cookies. We're saving the rest for the week of Christmas, so we'll have plenty to snack on and finish our community helper deliveries.
When Jason and I were first married, a woman in our church congregation spoke about a family tradition they had. Each year at Christmas, their family makes and delivers cookies to ALL of their neighbors. This encourages the kiddos to not only become involved in the kitchen, but to show Christlike love and service to others, even those, they may not otherwise socialize with. She shared experiences about how this has affected their family's relationship in the neighborhood for good, and how her kiddos have learned to love and serve others. The very next year, Jason and I started this tradition with Dinomite. Neighbors who have lived on our street for several years, open their door with big smiles and thank yous. Those who haven't lived here long, are always so surprised that a neighbor would randomly give them homemade cookies and personally wish them a Merry Christmas. The process of getting all four kiddos out to deliver cookies is always quite the task. This year it they had a very hard time resisting the urge to look in people's windows and ringing the doorbells several times. It's all a learning process!
For those who want further details about our community deliveries:
Last year, Princess REALLY struggled with PTSD episodes and anxiety at Christmas. At times she was afraid to leave the house. To help her, we decided to make and deliver cookies to as many community members as we could, to reassure her just how many people love her and are working to keep her safe in our city. (It was a great way to keep her hands busy at home, doing something she enjoys, and a great way to get her out of the house for deliveries.) The kiddos begged to continue this tradition this year. Our list of community members includes:
1. Fire Fighters
2. Police Officers
4. Pediatrician's Office
6. Allergist's Office
7. Dentist's Office
9. Post Office or Mail Carrier
10. Sanitation Workers
11. Construction Workers
12. Sheriff's Department
13. Car Repair Shop (We've spent a lot of time there this year.)
14. Local Craft Store (The workers know me by name, share my blog with others, and always tease that I know the store better than they do.)
Christmas is such a magical time of year! I love how it's a constant reminder of just how much learning can take place outside of our classroom walls.