Homemade Thankful cookies

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I wanted to do a little something for my kids’ preschool teachers. I sort of struggle to tell my kids’ teachers that I’m thankful for them because just saying it seems rote. I’m thankful for you, but do you have any idea how thankful? Seeing my little boy blossom as a student who loves to draw and create, watching my little girl be encouraged when she’s uncertain — that stuff is such a big deal. It reminds me that God is good and is caring for my kids. I’m thankful.

In that spirit, I wanted to put together a little something for them during this season of gratitude.

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Like, literal T-H-A-N-K-F-U-L cookies. Cookies that say exactly what I mean.

I’ve made word cookies before (I use these cookie cutters), and it’s such a fun project with kids — especially for the preschool teachers who spend so much time talking about words and letters. The thing that made the project successful was a quick and easy cookie recipe.

I took the kids to Wal-mart for the cookies and let them choose a few decorations as well.


Instead of me just making the cookies, I wanted to involve the kids in every step.

I enjoy cooking with my kids, but even though I can be laid back about things like spilled flour or fishing an egg shell out of the batter, baking can be finicky. You can’t play with a pie crust or squish cookie dough and expect it to make turn out.

A good cookie recipe can be tenuous and temperature-sensitive. Even if I hope to include the kids, I have to be a body guard for the batter, and end up doing it mostly by myself. Betty Crocker’s cookies are different. They’re simple (just add butter and an egg!) and forgiving. There are no instructions like “do not over mix” or “cut with a pastry cutter until just combined.”

I could let my girl stir and stir and stir, and the result didn’t look (or taste!) like it’d been manhandled by a three-year old. Even though it had.

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Then I let them roll out the dough. Which, once again, is a no-no with more delicate dough, because it would turn into a sludge in curious hands. Mary Virginia’s favorite thing ever is to pat dough, and that’s exactly what she did for 20 minutes.

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Then we added the letters. My plan was to talk about the letters and their sounds as we made each cookie, but instead there was a lot of “No! Do not touch! Wait for Mommy! Listen to instructions! DO NOT TOUCH.” Because even Betty Crocker dough needs a little TLC when its being transferred from the table to the baking stone.

(You can see Mary Virginia’s “pat pat” fingers in the photo below.)

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Oh yeah. Remember this guy?

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Thomas, my sweet 18-month old, still takes a morning nap most days. My other two gave up their morning naps around 14 months, and while I’m ready for him to move on it also helps to have him, um, sequestered, when we do stuff like this.

Then he wakes up and I kinda panic.

Equal and opposite to my panic is his delight whenever he wakes up to a big kid project.


After baking, we started decorating. I made a quick frosting with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2T milk. The kids painted the cookies with frosting, and I put sprinkles in ice cube trays.

kind of thought the ice cube trays were genius. I’d planned on putting sprinkles in lots of little bowls, and I happened to see the trays at the last moment. They worked great.

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While the kids decorated, Thomas did the dishes.


Actually, I just pulled a chair up to the sink and let him splash in the water. I actually used to do this with David all the time and I forgot about it until a friend (Hi, Allison!) posted a video of her kids playing in the sink.

Thomas thought he was at Water Country U.S.A. (He has a thing for amusement parks, I guess.)

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Decorating took a while, and the kids loved it. I gave them very little instruction (as in, all I told them was that the sprinkles would only stick to icing). I knew that if anyone would appreciate over-zealous creativity, it would be preschool teachers.

While the kids decorated and Thomas splashed, I asked them why they’re thankful for their teachers. Their answers weren’t what I thought, but were still so, so good.

If you have a child in preschool, you should ask them why they’re thankful for their teacher. I learned a lot about their day (like who helps them with their coats, or gets their snack) than I have with any other question.

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The finished product.

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Kids are a lot of things, but subtle with sprinkles is not one of those things.

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David has three teachers, so he decorated 24 cookies. I was impressed with his attention span.

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I stacked the cookies and wrapped them with a tag listing the things my kids had said about each teacher.

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My kids were so proud to hand out their cookies, and I think it’s because they made them, from start to finish.

I warned the teachers about the excessive sprinkles, and still every single teacher was absolutely delighted. Each one leaned down, looked at my child in the eye and told them so.

Just one more reason I’m so thankful.




  1. Susan November 20, 2016

    What a sweet post — literally 🙂 Made me miss the days when my kids were so little. BTW, I *love* the name Mary Virginia! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your adorable family!

  2. Mindy November 22, 2016

    As one of the teachers who received these wonderful cookie letters, I can tell you that they were delicious too! Such a sweet gift from an amazing family! I told David today that my boys ate most of the cookies. He seemed a little disappointed, but he perked up a little when I told him that I ate the “T”!
    Thank you again and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  3. […] Thankful Cookies from Living on Grace […]


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