The first year I hosted this type of party, it was pretty much a disaster. I had no idea what I was doing, but I learned a lot that year and then the following year so that I now have this thing down pat (and it's not that hard... you can do it).
First. I covered the table in a plastic table cover. Each child is given a tray that has a rim. Having the rim is essential as it keeps all the sugar and topping from rolling all over the floor. Each tray is then lined with parchment that has the respective child's name on it.
We started off making Hershey kiss peanut butter blossoms (you know those peanut butter cookies with a Hershey kiss on top.
I made all the dough last night and then just refrigerated it, removing it about an hour before the party started. Anyway, each kid was given a bowlful of dough (enough to make about a dozen cookies). The were instructed to take enough dough to make an inch sized ball rolling it in their palm. Even Jack could do it.
After they rolled all their dough into balls, I gave each child a little bit of sugar and they rolled all their peanut butter dough balls into the sugar. Next they counted how many cookies they made and unwrapped that number of Hershey kisses.
I then removed all the parchment from their trays and moved them to the cookie sheets as we started the next cookies. Having the parchment with the kids' names on them helps to keep all the cookies separated while you cook them. Let's face it, after their hands have rolled all the dough (while licking sugar), we don't anyone else getting anyone else's cookies (and germs).
Next up is the sugar cookies. I made pre-made about 100 cookies using Sweet Sugarbelle's recipe. Let me just tell you, I have used a LOT of sugar cookie recipes (pre-made dough, homemade dough, mixes) and this was BY FAR the easiest dough EVER. It rolled out like butter, cooked beautifully, and tasted great too.
Each girl was given a scoop of each color of red, green, yellow and blue icing. They used small cheese spreaders to decorate their cookies with icing. Each child was asked to bring their favorite cookie topping to the party and those were set out to decorate with as well.
The girls really had a great time decorating. Some were taking their time and getting everything just right. Others did as many as they could as fast as they could. Ella was somewhere in between, but she used WAY MORE than her fair share of sugar.
As each girl finished up their cookies I stacked them in the cookie tins pre-marked with their names.
After they finished decorating their cookies I let them each pick ONE cookie to eat and served hot chocolate.
Even though most of the girls took their time making the cookies, by the time it was all said and done it had only been 1.5 hours. With a half hour left before their parents were to pick them up we read the Fancy Nancy Christmas book and then sat down to watch the Polar Express.
It should be noted that Isabel WAS at the party (she just came a tad late due to a birthday party). She's too cute not to share her smiling face!
This is absolutely one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Seeing all the kids smiling faces intent on making beautiful cookies makes all the work that goes into it worth it.
And if that's not enough to get you going this holiday season, there's always a sugar high! I've got my eye on the candy cane with 2 pounds of mini M&Ms.