1. Make or buy plain cupcakes or cookies for each person who will be attending the holiday party. Buy one or two per person and allow for extras in case of less-than-perfect quality control.
2. You will also need two or three kinds of frosting, a variety of holiday sprinkles, mini M & Ms, tiny chocolate chips, toffee pieces and nuts. Choose the ones you want for the cookies or cupcakes you will be decorating.
3. Be sure to bring or provide containers for the toppings and knives, paper towels, waxed paper, and a small paper plate for each child.
4. Prepare a holiday cookie or cupcake menu for each child. Each child will check a box or line for kind of frosting and sprinkles desired. There should also be a space for their name. Have each child fill out the menu and collect them.
5. Choose a holiday foreperson. This person is in charge of holiday decorating crews, job assignments and quality control. The child chosen should be able to work well with the other children.
6. Assign children to groups of four or five. Introduce them to the foreperson and explain that they will be filling the holiday cookie or cupcake menu requests. You might want to complete one of the cookies or cupcakes as an example.
7. Give the first group four or five holiday menus to complete. Each child will have a job, a kind of frosting or a specific type of sprinkle or topping to apply. Make sure they understand what their job is and that it is important to listen to the foreperson and work together.
8. The foreperson will make sure each person does their job and that the assigned menus are completed successfully. Explain to the foreperson the importance of being firm but kind and encouraging. Help them understand the power of positive role-modeling.
9. Have an activity planned for the groups that are waiting to decorate the holiday treats such as a puzzle, crossword or game. This will keep everyone busy and having a good time.
10. When all the holiday treats are frosted and sprinkled, take each child’s menu and pass out the cookies or cupcakes. It’s fun to see if everyone gets the treat they ordered. Let the children know the good things you noticed while they were working together.
This activity can be tailored to any holiday celebration and is fun and a good way to provide a learning experience.