Since we made snickerdoodles last week, Belle has called all cookie dough or play dough balls snickerdoodles – as in “I made a snickerdoodles” – which works for me. Keep rolling those balls, kiddo, and working that estimation and pincer grasp to grab a consistent amount of dough, then using that manual coordination to roll it into a sphere, then using that shape language to distinguish between a 2D circle, a 3D ball, and a 3D cube.

Flour fingers
Scoop optional: flour is still really fun to poke and prod and pick up with fingers.

The hands on rolling was actually our main target with this recipe. I was hoping Belle would take charge of grabbing the dough and rolling it, because I’m interested in having her match sizes right now. Instead, she directed me to roll the balls, while she dipped them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and lined them up on the cookie sheet.

Pouring into bowl
Belle’s strength and coordination has improved a lot and she consistently pours everything into the mixing bowl without spilling.

So I pivoted and talked about how we could build letters with big lines and little lines (I have some experience with the Handwriting without Tears curriculum, which gives children half a dozen different ways to create the shape of a letter without necessarily using a writing utensil) and we built most of an A with snickerdoodles before Belle started filling in the triangle.

Snickerdoodles balls arranged as letter A
Alas, Belle never got the little line across in letter A.

Lastly, we work on lot on telling the story of baking: what do we need and what should we do with it? What are the ‘structions? What did we do, and then what, and then what? We recap this on video, on FaceTime with Grammie, while serving Papa our cookies, all to practice recall and sequencing. Eventually, we’ll draw some stories out, but at still not 3, that’s too advanced for Belle.

Skills worked on:

  • Fine motor dexterity and coordination: rolling
  • Following directions
  • Alphabet
  • 3D shapes and shape language
  • Estimation
  • Cognition: restraint/executive function
  • Recall/storytelling

Equipment needed:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixer
  • Small bowls for cracking eggs and topping
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cookie sheets

Recipe (30 min prep, 25 min bake, yield: 4 dozen):

This recipe came straight from Grammie’s kitchen, with one slight change: toddlers aren’t great at rolling in sugar mixtures, and snickerdoodles need that cinnamon, so we’ve added some in the dough.

  • 2 sticks (1 c) butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 c flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Topping: 3 tbsp sugar, or more
  • Topping: 3 tbsp cinnamon, or more
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together 2 sticks butter, 1 1/2 c sugar, and 2 eggs.
  3. Add 2 3/4 c flour, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, and 2 tsp cinnamon, and mix together into a dough.
  4. Mix 3 tbsp of sugar and 3 tbsp of cinnamon in a small bowl.
  5. Roll into balls about 1″ in diameter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar and place on 3-4 cookie sheets. Cookies will spread to about 3″ diameter, slightly more with margarine.
  6. Bake 12-15 min at 350°, or until a gentle tap doesn’t dent the cookie. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Store in an airtight container up to a week.

This recipe is part of our coronavirus/Covid-19 quarantine bake-along. See the previous recipe here: Pretzels. See the next recipe here: Shortbread.

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