Unlike the super creative moms like Anna at Random Handprints, Holly over at BaristaKids, or the parents over at New Jersey Family who come up with interactive and fun activities as they sip coffee, I only have occasional creative splurges. The rest of the time, I staple paper together to “make our own!” coloring books and play some Cyndi Lauper or Band of Horses really loud and call it a dance party.
And then there’s buying stuff. I’m good at that. My latest go-to rainy day activity has been decorating cookies. Every time the season changes, Brookdale ShopRite (and I’m sure other groceries, but I’m a ShopRite shopper) gets a new batch of cookie decorating kits. My kids get to use messy frosting and colorful decorations, and later it serves as a very special snack.
Here’s our Celebration of Spring (we’re all but secular here) kit:
It also teaches them (yeah, I know, I’m stretching here) patience and delayed gratification. Once decorated, the cookies need to dry before they are eaten, so they have to find some pleasant pastime while that happens. When we have friends over, it’s effective for breaking a non-sharing or general crankiness cycle of dispute.
The amount of concentration I see on these kids when they are choosing exactly where to put the rainbow sprinkles and frosting is astounding. They are also incredibly proud of their cookie creations when they are finished. Now, obviously, I could bake my own sugar cookies (or snickerdoodles or gingerbread…) and let the kids go at it. And I probably should, but this is so easy, and there are cute designs already on the cookies for the kids to follow.
Now, I’m not ALL about ready-made. I have made sure they have lots of additional decorating tools – raisins, cut up dried mango and apricots, walnuts, blueberries, mini-marshmallows, even – in a pinch – cooked brown rice. It’s all the same to them, and they are so grateful to have a cookie in their future, instead of the usual apple slices and cheese cubes, that I get quiet kids for just a short time. Enough for the coffee and Tylenol to kick in, anyway.
Any other pseudo-creative ideas that a lazy mom can employ?