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A star with a cherry on top



Suitable for children: 
Cookie/biscuit dough that has been rolled flat with a rolling pin, and has had snow flake shaped cookies/biscuits cut out of it.

Christmas can be a great time to make your own biscuits.

Once you have made and rolled out the dough your child can help you to cut out the biscuits. What shape will they be? How many will you make? Do they all need to be the same shape?

Talk with your child about why you are making the biscuits and how many you will need.

We are going to give biscuits to our friends for Christmas. They need to fit inside the small clear cellophane bags.

We have 20 friends to give biscuits to. The bags will hold 10 small stars or 3 big Christmas tree shapes.

After working out what shape you are going to use and how many biscuits you need, talk about the size of the cutter. Can you press more biscuits from the dough if the cutter is smaller? Does it make a difference if you cut the shapes out closer together?

We are going to start near the edge of the dough and then work towards the middle. If we make the shapes touch we can make more biscuits.

Finally, when the biscuits are on the tray ready to cook talk about how you will decorate them. Will you press cherries into the top before they go into the oven? Will you ice them after they have cooked?

We are going to make a mixture of biscuits. Half will have icing and half will have cherries on top.

We can't ice the biscuits until they are cool. If we ice them straight from the oven the icing will run off.

Materials you will need

  • Lollies
  • Freckles and sprinkles
  • Biscuit dough
  • Biscuit recipe
  • Biscuit cutters
  • Coloured icing

Alternative tools

  • Food colouring
  • Ready-made biscuit dough
  • Cup or glass for a cutter

Why does this matter?

As the dough is rolled out thinner and thinner your child is hearing and using the language of measurement. The language of measurement helps them to make decisions – how many biscuits do we need to make, how long will the dough take to cook, what size cutter will we use?

When your child decorates the biscuits they will be counting out lollies or decorations to put on top. They will be matching a number to an object and practicing to count in sequence and order. They are learning that the total number counted represents the quantity of the object. The same quantity can be divided into smaller or larger groups.

"We can cut 20 small stars from the dough or 10 large ones."

As your child cuts out and decorates their biscuits, they are experimenting with design and placement by sorting and classifying objects by colour, size and shape. Creating their own patterns or designs on top of the biscuit allows them to make their own decisions and to plan how they will go about creating their design.

What does this lead to?

By helping to cut out the biscuits children are learning to create designs within a confined space. As they do this they are experimenting with space, placement and position. Once they have made the dough and cut out the biscuits they will then be using mathematical language to describe what they have done.

"I have made 3 red star biscuits with 1 lolly. You only made 1 giant biscuit with lots of sticky cherries."

As your child helps you to cut out the biscuits from the dough they are learning to estimate and predict how many they can cut. By helping to cut out the different shapes they are learning that the size or shape of the cutter will determine how many biscuits you can make. As they help they are experimenting with how close together they can place the cutter.

Language to use

  • Shape, size, colour
  • Dough, thick, thin
  • Top, bottom, middle, edge, sides
  • Before, after, later, next
  • Lollies, icing, biscuits, bikkies, decoration, cherry, cookies
  • Bowl, knife, spoon, tray, cutter, plate
  • Oven, temperature, hot, cold, cool

Questions to use

  • Do we get more biscuits if we place the cutters closer together?
  • Which shape takes up more room, the small star or the large circle?
  • How many sides does the star have compared to the round biscuit?
  • Can you fit more cherries on the small star or the large circle?

Useful tips

  1. You might also like to take a look at the activities Bake your cake and eat it too and A freckle here, a sprinkle there.
  2. For some healthy options, take a look at Nutrition Australia's cake recipes and other healthy sweet ideas.
  3. You might like to look at kids health topics from Child and Youth.
  4. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

  1. Pipe the names of different family members on the top of each biscuit.
  2. Read the list of the ingredients for decorating the biscuits and ask your child to look for them in the pantry.
  3. Make a shopping list of ingredients for decorating. Your child can help you find the ingredients when you go shopping together.
  4. You could make a savoury Christmas biscuit.

Variation by age

Three to five year olds

  • Sort all of the different coloured lollies into colour groups like reds or blues.
  • Draw circles on a piece of paper and use them to make patterns for the biscuits before starting on the real ones.
  • Brainstorm all the different edible things you can use for decorating.
  • Try and think of different foods you could use to make Christmas colours.
  • Collect paint charts and match the different food colours to the chart.

Questions to ask

  • Can you make the same pattern on a square biscuit and a star biscuit?
  • Can you put a red lolly on a cheese biscuit?
  • Can you put the decoration on the biscuit before it is cooked?

Language to use

  • Sweet, savoury
  • Most, few, some, none, lots, many
  • Purple, green, red, yellow, blue, pink, orange, brown, black, white
  • Light shade, dark shade, pastel, fluoro, pale, bright
  • Raw, cooked, hot, cold