I have had my set of 101 cookie cutters (affiliate link) for years, long before I had kids. But now that I'm raising toddlers I find that I am using them all the time. So much so that I want to share our favorite activities with them!
1. Make Cookies. Let's get the obvious one out of the way. Of course you can use them for your favorite sugar cookie recipe (Here's mine). This is a really easy recipe that you can get your kids involved in measuring, mixing, and cutting out the shapes. They are great for decorating too!
2. Dog Cookies. We love to make dog cookies for our 2 pups, and they could not be easier to do. All you need is 1 cup of flour and 1 4 oz. jar of baby food. Mix, roll out, and use your cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Done! So simple for little ones to help mixing, rolling, and cutting and all the ingredients are safe even if you have toddlers who like to sample.
If you don't have a dog, you can still do this project and donate your cookies to your local animal shelter.
3. Fun Food Shapes. I have a picky eater, and I use cookie cutters for sandwiches, toast, cheese, everything! Sometimes my picky one will actually taste a new food just because it's got a shape that he recognizes and likes. Not always, but it's definitely one of my favorite tricks.
4. Play Dough. Our cookie cutters get used on a daily basis to make shapes out of play dough. My little ones love to pick out their favorite shapes and make dinosaurs that roar and trucks that go. Seriously, we do this pretty much every day and they love it.
5. Contact Paper Collage. I love clear contact paper. I have about 10 rolls of it. On a rainy day, I just hang some up (usually on our sliding glass door, but a plain wall works just as well), sticky side out, with painter's tape. Cookie cutters are great because they are light enough to stick and make great 3-D art. The boys let their imaginations go wild and make all sorts of scenes.
6. Shapes & Letters Practice. My set comes with a full complement of letters and numbers. We use these to practice - I'll put all the letters in a bag and let them draw one out and guess what it is. I also use it with our favorite alphabet book - Dr. Seuss's ABC (affiliate link) and let them match the letters to the book. We also like to put the numbers in order and practice counting.
7. Baking Soda Fizzy Fun. Love, love, love this project from Toddler Approved. We do it with more than just our letter cutters, it's very fun with animal shapes too.
8. DIY Coloring Pages. I posted about this project here. It's a favorite and a big money saver over coloring books.
9. Painting. We love to paint, but one of my toddlers really hates "mess". So we use our cookie cutters like stamps. Dip them in a little washable paint and let them stamp out shapes to their heart's content. Since they only create an outline, they can also have fun filling them in and adding details.
10. Buried Treasure Sensory Bin. I love sensory bins. They are so easy and really keep the kids entertained. If you're unfamiliar, all you need is a plastic bin (I like plastic under bed boxes) and some sensory material. We've had great fun with oats, old stale Cheerios, dried beans, play sand, etc. I like to bury our cookie cutters in the bins and let the boys find and dig them out. Be sure to do this one outside or cover your floor with an old sheet - it can get messy!
What other crafts and projects can be done with cookie cutters? I'd love to hear your ideas!