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Cookie sheet activities are an amazing way to keep your kids busy while you get some work done. If you don’t have any extra cookie sheets at home, you can pick them up at your local Dollar Store, because you don’t need great quality ones for these cookie sheet activities.
What makes cookie sheets activities good for keeping kids busy? Well, cookie sheets are:
- Easy to store
- Inexpensive so you can buy one for each child
- Versatile – so many ways to use them for fun.
Once you have your cookie sheets, be sure to remove any labels on them.
Now they’re ready to serve as a base for any of these cookie sheet activities.
How to Use Cookie Sheet Activities to Keep Kids Engaged
I personally use our cookie sheet activities as part of our daily Family Writing Time. You can learn more about how I use this time to make an extra 2.5 hours a week for my business in this eBook:
No matter when you use these cookie sheet activities, there are a few things to do first.
- Prep the activities (some of these require some advanced preparation)
- Pull out your supplies (you don’t want to get interrupted while you work to go find something the kids need so get everything out at first)
- Set some boundaries (let your kids know how long they’re to play and what they can do, such as let them know if they can switch activities)
- Let your kids play
For best results, always stop the cookie sheet activities while your kids are still engaged. You want them to want to play more another time so they don’t get bored.
For my crew, 30 minutes is a great amount of time. Your children may need a shorter or longer period of time.
Now, let’s dive into 10 fun cookie sheet activities to keep your kids busy while you work.
1. ABC Magnets
Since cookie sheets are magnetic, they’re the perfect work space for magnets. With an inexpensive set of alphabet magnets, you can let your child build words, experiment with invented spelling, and sort the letters.
They can write their name, spell other family members’ names, and more.
You can ask them to put the letters in ABC order, or for a challenge, do reverse ABC order (ZYX order).
Just store the magnets in a gallon sized Ziploc when you’re done and you’ll always have them when it’s time.
The cookie sheet provides a great background for any magnet.
2. Build a Story Board
For this activity, you’ll need some large construction paper, that fits inside your cookie sheet. Let your child color a background on one piece. Encourage him to use the entire sheet of paper.
Then slide this onto the cookie sheet. If you have some of these adhesive magnets, you can put one in each corner. Your child’s background will now stay put.
Next, turn your child loose with construction paper and basic art supplies to create characters to interact with their backgrounds. Or you can take a shortcut and print out coloring pages (I like this site) and have them color them and cut them out.
You can store the backgrounds in a large envelope or folder, along with the characters. Let your child make up as many as desired, and then everything can be mixed and matched.
My kids love making “crossover” stories. So they’ll make a My Little Pony background and bring in Pokemon characters or something. It keeps them busy, and they never complain about doing family writing time when they get to make up stories.
3. Make Magnetized Family Photos
My younger kids love looking at pictures of the family! It’s a great way for them to learn more about relationships, remember events of the past, and just engage with familiar faces.
To make these, I just throw some adhesive magnets on the backs of pictures. Then the kids can move them all around the cookie sheet to their heart’s content.
I’ve found one magnet on each picture is perfect for young hands to be able to use easily.
Just be sure that your child isn’t more interested in the magnet than the pictures. I have one child I can’t let use anything with those small magnets because they just pull them off and try to eat them.
So use larger pieces of magnetic tape if that’s a concern!
4. Build a Racetrack
My three year old son LOVES all things cars. So my oldest is making him this activity for a gift.
She’s taking a piece of construction paper and coloring a racetrack along it. I think we’re going to cover this one with clear plastic packing tape to give it a little more stability and protection before attaching magnets to the back.
To make it more literacy based, I asked her to make magnetic letter signs and bushes for him to decorate the track with. The letters are there so he can spell his name. Hey–recognizing your own name is an important goal!
So he can get his racetrack all set just how he likes it, and then use a couple of cars to race around.
We’ll just store the cars, background, and letter pieces in a large Ziploc bag and it’s ready to pull out for him. I think he’ll love this activity!
5. Make Your Own Set
My eight- and ten-year old daughters love making sets together for family writing time. Recently they’ve made a chicken set, with a large chicken coop, several chickens, and eggs; a sheep set with a grassy fenced in field, and sheep of all sizes and colors.
But the problem is, they’re always loosing the pieces. It’s hard to keep track of small items in our house, especially with a son with Pica. They usually disappear down the hatch!
Magnet tape has been a solution. They can add tape to the back of everything, then store the pieces in a gallon sized bag. Now when a piece gets left out, it’s easily recognizable as not just a “scrap” of paper to be tossed in the fire or trash, but something to be saved.
They actually get to play with the sets they make!
What interests your child? Let her make a set and have all the pieces. Creative play is such an important part of storytelling and understanding how things go together.
6. Work on Reading Comprehension
You can use cookie sheet activities in support of academic goals like reading comprehension.
Did your child just read a book? Let her create the pieces she needs to retell her favorite section. Then when family writing time is over, have everyone listen.
They can create the setting on construction paper and use it as the background. They can order plot points, and do a lot more.
It’s a great way to encourage comprehension in a fun way!
7. Build a Puzzle
A cookie sheet is a great backboard for building a puzzle on. And if your child doesn’t get done before the time is up, they can leave it safely on the cookie sheet set up.
We’ve found that smaller puzzles from the Dollar Store are a great size to build on cookie sheets, but always look at the measurements before you buy. It’s not fun to have the puzzle too big to fit.
Note: If you’re looking for a portable cookie sheet activity for travel, simply add a magnet piece to each puzzle piece. Then, they’ll stay put.
8. Make a Salt Tray
This is a simple activity with a cookie sheet, but only if your cookie sheet has rims. Don’t do this one on a flat tray.
Simply dump some salt on, and let your child write or draw in the salt.
It’s best to do this one over a large towel to help make clean up simple.
The amount of salt you need to add will depend on the size of your cookie sheet. You want a layer that’s thick enough for your child to easily be able to see what they wrote, but not too thick.
When they’re done, simply pour the salt carefully into a bag. Then you can reuse the same salt over and over. Reusing things helps keep cookie sheet activities from breaking the budget.
9. Spray on Some Shaving Cream
With a good sized dallop of shaving cream and a cookie sheet as a surface, your child can have lots of fun.
Let them spread out the cream and then draw or write in it. It’s a fun texture that’s great for sensory play.
You’ll likely need to add more shaving cream during the play time, so you might consider teaching one of your older kids to do this. That way you don’t get interrupted and have to lose your concentration while you’re working.
Make sure to wash the cookie sheet off when your child is done, and let it dry completely before using it for a different activity.
Note: Don’t do this cookie sheet activity if your child still puts things in their mouth. Or use whipped cream instead of shaving cream.
10. Make Some Play Cookies
A list of cookie sheet activities can’t be complete without some pretend cookie ideas. A cookie sheet is the perfect place to play with cookies.
You can cover the sheet in felt sheets (use hot glue or magnet strips). Then, using more felt, cut out cookie shapes using your cookie cutters as magnets. If your child is old enough, this is a fun activity for them too.
Then, cut out cookie decorations from felt. These will stick to the cookie shapes which will stick to the background felt, and be a fun way to keep your kids busy.
You can also let your kids use playdough to create cookies. The cookie sheet gives a fun, realistic background prop to hold the mess and serve the pretend cookies.
Paper also works, so you have plenty of ideas for cookie play.
Note: If you cover the cookie sheet in felt, it makes a great felt board for other felt activities like felt Potato Heads and felt paper dolls).
Keep Your Kids Busy with Cookie Sheet Activities
These cookie sheet activities will keep your kids busy while you work. For even more simple ideas, pick up a copy of my book, The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Family Writing Time. It has dozens of creative ways to engage your kids while you work.
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Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.