My children absolutely love the idea of baking and making treats, and it always seems like a good idea ... in theory.

What happens is, the kids will say they want to do some baking and I immediately picture us all in cute homemade aprons, hand mixing our batter, and placing our delectable desserts into the oven. Then patiently waiting for them to be done, and enjoying the smells wafting throughout the house.

But the reality is anything but that.

I get complaints about having to wash their hands. They usually fight over who gets to put which ingredient into the bowl. Mixing the batter is “too hard,” or one will say, “my arm huuuurts.” It almost always ends up with me doing all the baking and the clean up, and the children enjoying the fruits of my labor.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy baking my children goodies, and I love spending time doing these things with them. I also do think baking with the children is a great way to teach them about being self-sufficient, it helps hone in their math and measuring skills and all those other wonderful life skills that are learned in the kitchen. I always just wish that it was as fun as we imagine it to be.

I have come to the conclusion that when my kids tell me they want to bake cookies, or cupcakes it usually means something more along the lines of they’d like to decorate something. Because let’s be honest, it’s always the most fun at the end when you get to frost and sprinkle things and get creative.

So, when they are asking to “cook” something, when we are under time constraints, or I just can’t fathom the idea of washing another sink full of dishes, instead we decorate!

One of our favorites and easiest projects is to decorate Oreos. We do this often for class celebrations or birthday party treats.

For this one you will need a package of Oreos. Any Oreo will do, whatever is your favorite, or maybe even some seasonal ones if you are decorating them for a party or something. You could really use any kind of cookie, there’s no hard and fast rule that it needs to be an Oreo, we've even used pretzels!

Supplies you will need:

Parchment paper

A glass bowl

Spatula

Ingredients:

Oreos

Colored candy melts

Sprinkles or other edible decorations

First you will want to set up your workspace for the kids to easily maneuver. I make sure to lay out a large sheet of parchment paper that you will place the cookies on to cool and dry.

Then, I like to set up tiny bowls with the different sprinkle options.

The next step will be to melt the colored candy melts in the bowl. The package will have the melting instructions and there are usually two options, one using the microwave; and one using the stove top.

After you have the candy melted, have your children dunk the Oreos into the candy melts and place it on the parchment paper, where they can then decorate them with all the different sprinkles you have provided.

If you’d like to get even more creative, you can stick lollipop sticks into the Oreos to make them look like cookie pops!

If your kids are not Oreo cookie fans, you could also consider decorating other things such as brownies or rice crispy treats. You can switch up the candy melts, too, and use them to drizzle on the treats instead of dunking them.

Or, cut the brownies or rice crispy treats into different shapes depending on what holiday you are close to. Using shapes such as Christmas trees, pumpkins or hearts, for example.

Another easy baked good to do with kids are Rolo pretzels.

These yummy candies are a great mix of salty and sweet. You basically put an unwrapped Rolo on a pretzel, bake it in the oven just enough for it to soften up, and push it down into the pretzel with an M&M. Tah-dah! Done!

Supplies you will need:

Parchment paper

Cookie sheet

Ingredients:

Rolos

Square pretzels

M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is heating up, have your children lay out the pretzels in a single layer on the cookie sheet.

You can have them unwrap each Rolo and place one on each pretzel.

Once the oven is preheated, carefully place the cookie sheet in there for three minutes until the Rolo seems soft enough to be able to smush down into the pretzel, using an M&M.

They don’t get too hot in the oven, so the kids should be able to perform this step as well.

Once they are cooled, they are ready to eat!

These treats are great for all seasons, using any kind of holiday colored M&Ms.

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