Welcome back to Pondering Playtime, my fortnightly series where I share a favourite picture book and a craft or play activity to go with it. This week, I’ve chosen The Very Smiley Snowman by Jack Tickle*.
After the microwave salt dough stars that we made a couple of weeks ago, M had been asking to make some star biscuits. We were sent a baking gift set from Messy Me to try out, which handily includes a set of star cutters, as well as a sweet apron and a mini rolling pin. So, we decided to make these stained glass window star biscuits.
The Very Smiley Snowman is a lovely Christmas-themed pop up book. It features all different animals and ends with a jolly pop up Christmas tree scene. It’s a real ‘wow’ book, which brings excitement with each and every page turn. I think it’s out of print at the moment, but it is possible to pick up second hand copies on Amazon. We bought our copy for M’s Christmas Eve box last year, and she really enjoyed looking at it.
We used this gluten free biscuit recipe back in March when we made decorated Easter biscuits. I’ve made it a couple of times since and it’s always turned out well, so I thought I’d use it for this activity too. Essentially, you can use any biscuit recipe that you like.
To make the stained glass windows, we simply rolled out the dough and cut out a large star, with a smaller star inside. Then, put some boiled sweets into a sandwich bag and crushed them with a rolling pin, and sprinkled them into the star shaped hole in the middle of our biscuit. We baked them in the oven according to the original recipe, and out they came – lovely stained glass window star biscuits!
If you want to hang them on the Christmas tree, then simply make a hole in the top of each star with a straw, before baking, then thread with ribbon once they’re cooked and cooled. They’d also make a lovely end of term gift for your child’s teacher.
You will need:
When I first showed M her baking gift set from Messy Me, she was thrilled. I’m not sure if she was most excited by the apron or the set of star cutters, but she wanted to wear the apron immediately, and has been stacking the stars in size order, chatting away about their colours and how they fit together. She’s used the set a lot to role play with her play kitchen, as well as for our ‘proper’ baking activities!
I think M’s favourite part of this activity was hitting the sweets with her rolling pin. What toddler wouldn’t love being given permission to thwack something with a rolling pin?! She also enjoyed sprinkling the broken sweets into the centre of the stars – and of course eating the biscuits!
M still finds using cookie cutters accurately a bit of a challenge – she is two, after all – so I made the holes in the centre of the stars, to make the little windows. I’m sure that this is a skill that M will develop over time, as she has more opportunities to practice. Overall, this was a really nice little activity.
The biscuit recipe I use has quite a few ingredients, so I made the dough in the morning before M woke up, and popped it in the fridge to chill until we were ready to use it. If I’d been using a simpler recipe, though, I definitely would have got M involved with the mixing. As it happened, she was quite happy with all of the rolling, cutting, whacking and sprinkling that she got to do!
If you enjoyed this, you can find more Pondering Playtime activities here, and you might like to join my Early Years craft and activity Facebook group; Play Craft, Explore. We’d love to have you! And lastly, don’t forget to Pin it!
Disclosure: We were sent a baking gift set from Messy Me free of charge. However, all opinions are my own.
*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.