Cookie cutters aren’t just for cookies!
If you’re like me, you don’t enjoy single use items. My cookie cutters were hanging out in the kitchen, lonely. I rarely make the kind of cookies you need to roll out.
So my cookie cutters weren’t getting used. They were just taking up space, and I considered donating them.
Until I realized that one of my children really liked playing with them. That gave me some ideas. We pulled them out of the kitchen, and brought them into our homeschool. The kids love using them as a learning tool!
Here are five different ways we use them:
1. Sort Cookie Cutters
Sorting is an essential math task. It helps kids learn to pay attention to detail, look for commonalities, and combine like items.
We found lots of ways to sort cookie cutters! By:
- Material (metal/plastic)
- Holiday (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.)
- Shape (animals, nature, letters, vehicles, etc.)
I let each of the kids sort the pile. Once they had it sorted the way they wanted, the rest of us tried to guess how they’d grouped them. That added a fun critical thinking piece, since everyone had to explain why they did what they did.
2. Make Cookie Cutter Patterns
Patterns are another math skill. It’s fun to make patterns with cookie cutters!
The kids each selected a couple of cookie cutters, and used a pencil to trace a pattern onto paper. We had several types of patterns:
- AB patterns: Snowman, Turkey, Snowman, Turkey
- ABB patterns: Star, Tree, Tree, Star, Tree, Tree
- ABC patterns: Bat, Turkey, Tree, Bat, Turkey, Tree
This was a fun way to practice some of the harder patterning patterns. When we were done, the kids colored their patterns, which they enjoyed.
3. Use Cookie Cutters as Stencils
Our patterning activity lead naturally to some free drawing. The kids looked at their drawings from the pattern activity, and began adding backgrounds. Then they selected another cookie cutter to use as a stencil, and started over on a blank piece of paper.
They just put the cookie cutter on the paper, and traced around the inside. When they pulled off the cookie cutter, they had a great start to a picture. They added more cutters as desired, and colored everything.
We often use cookie cutters in our Family Writing Time, and this activity is a favorite!
4. Fine Motor Practice: Putting Cookie Cutters In & Out
My son with Angelman Syndrome needs lots of practice with his fine motor skills. His playing with cookie cutters is what inspired all these activities in the first place!
I gave him a plastic gallon jar (I think it used to hold mayo) full of cookie cutters. He used his motor skills to empty the jar.
Sometimes he shook it, sometimes he reached in and grabbed.
Once they were all on the floor, I let him play with them for a while. But, I have to be careful because he’s now strong enough to break the plastic ones. 🙁
Then we practiced putting them back in. That’s not nearly as fun as taking them out, but an essential fine motor skill.
My toddlers also enjoy practicing in and out. They can’t break the plastic cookie cutters, thankfully!
5. Float or Sink
Since the cookie cutters had just spent some serious time on the floor, they needed a good washing before we put them away for the day.
As I filled up the sink, the kids threw them in. We watched, as some floated and some sank.
I had the kids make predictions for each one. Would it float or sink?
It didn’t take long for them to realize that the plastic ones floated. The metal ones sank. This lead to some great conversations about floating and sinking, and the kids went to find more items to test.
It was a fun hands on science lesson for younger kids!
Bonus Activity: Washing Practice
Since the cutters were in the sink, it was the perfect time to let my kids practice their skills at washing dishes by hand.
They took turns washing, drying, and putting away.
I got clean cookie cutters, they got life skills practice!
Do You Use Cookie Cutters as a Learning Tool?
Are you ready to try some of these cookie cutter learning activities? I’d love to hear about your experiences! If you have another simple learning activity using cookie cutters, please share in the comments!