thanksgiving activity idea: cookie decorating contest

This year, we’re going to have quite a few kids at the Thanksgiving table and so my oldest daughter came up with what I think is a great idea: A Thanksgiving holiday cookie contest.

1. Get Cookie Cuttters

thanksgiving cookie cutters | cool mom picks

My daughter and her sister were debating whether the motif should be leaves or turkeys, so fortunately I found this Fall Copper Cookie Cutter set at Williams-Sonoma that lets us have both. And a pumpkin too. There are always cheaper ones (like this maple leaf cookie cutter from–just $1.25 each! Steal!) but I’m a sucker for handcrafted copper cookie cutters designed to last, and forged with good sharp edges. 

(Also, they’d make a great hostess gift for Thanksgiving.)

2. Bake the cookies
Premake the cookies before your Thanksgiving dinner, so that kids can just focus on decorating the sugar cookies. Our own Stacie swears by the basic sugar cookie recipe from Sweet Sugar Belle, so that’s what we’re going for. And I like the sound of Alton Brown’s royal icing recipe–the vanilla is the secret ingredient. Then, just tint with great fall colors.

3. Decorate!
Use whatever sprinkles and decoratifs you’ve got around the house; but also take a look at the all-natural cookie decorating sugars from India Tree, especially for kids with sensitivities to artificial dyes and colors. They make great natural food colors too for that icing, colored with natural herbs and plants.

All natural cookie decorating sugars | Cool Mom Picks

If you want to get fancy with your designs, there’s tons of inspiration at Sweetopia (photo below),  The Berry, and especially for kids, The Decorated Cookie which shows you how to draw turkeys and Mayflowers with food coloring pens.

The cookies may not come out like the cookies here from Sweetopia, but I doubt anyone will really care.

Thanksgiving Cookies from Sweetopia | Cool Mom Picks

thanksgiving leaf cookies at sweetopia | cool mom picks


4. Make awards

Finally, my kids want to give out awards, but thoughtfully, every kid will get one. Ideas on the table now include “most creative use of color” and “most sprinkles on one cookie” (my youngest is a shoo-in for that one).

Felt blue ribbons on Etsy | Cool Mom Picks

You can print a free blue ribbon coloring page and fill in the award names by hand; or for just $4, you can get a dozen handmade felt ribbons from Pear Creek Cottage on Etsy so everyone goes home with a special keepsake.

Because we all know the cookies aren’t going to make it past the front door.

I’ll let you know how our own contest goes! –Liz