The most perfect Valentine cookie activity for kids has to be painting cookies. These are commonly called PYO cookies - stands for Paint-Your-Own.
Not only are these cookies super easy to make and fun for kids to paint, there is virtually no clean up at the end of the party. They are great for a sleepover activity, birthday parties, and classroom parties.
Check out this in-depth cookie tutorial to learn what supplies you'll need, how to make these cookies, and tips for painting. Plus, below, see the guide for matching up the right sized cutter to the stencil! And get some easy packaging and painting party tips!
PREPPING THE COOKIES
It's time to take the guesswork out of matching up the stencil to the cutter. We are working on a guide for each holiday, but here is an easy cheat sheet to help you Valentine's Day. Generally, I have found that these 6 cutters work with MOST (not all) PYO stencils. You probably have these already in your cutter bin: 3.5" Circle, Photo Plaque, 3.5" Square, Square Plaque, LilaLoa Plaque, and Rectangle.
On each Valentine PYO stencil product page, we have added a photo of how the stencil looks like with a cutter. We have also linked to the cutters in the product description.
I like to use stiff icing when stenciling and apply it with a scraper. You probably saw in the video that I generously spread on the icing, but remove the excess. This not only keeps that image clear and crisp, but it makes it possible to reuse the stencil multiple times (you can probably do 6-12 - or more - cookies before you need to clean it).
SUPER IMPORTANT PYO COOKIE TIP: I don't recommend airbrushing these images for a PYO cookie. During painting, the color really smudges and makes a mess of the cookie.
PACKAGING AND BOXING TIPS
I used a white 9" box from BRP Box Shop for two cookies and one palette.
The single cookie box is perfect for one cookie, one palette, and one brush.
I put a little crinkle paper in the base and placed a wrapped cookie (I wrap for freshness), a palette, and a brush inside each box.
I used a white 7" box from BRP Box Shop for one cookie and one palette.
COOKIE PAINTING PARTIES
I have hosted and taught dozens and dozens of cookie classes, and Cookie Painting Parties by far was the easiest. They are easy to prep and set-up and soooooo easy to clean up. Plus the kids LOOOOVED IT!
Check out these for tips on hosting your own Cookie Painting Party!
Once the cookies are stenciled and ready (use above tutorial to learn how to make them), it's time to prep for the party. Let's break down each step of the process:
1. First, set the table. I created a work station for each painter. I used a wipeable decorating mat, but you could easily use a paper plate! I put out the cookies that were ready to be painted. And I had a few examples for them to get inspiration. Set-up your work stations. I gave each painter a small dish of water, paper towel, and a couple edible paint palettes.
3. Do a DEMO cookie so the painters can see how to use the palettes. I gave the painters tips on make their projects successful. The two best tips are: don't add too much water to your brush (or cookie surface) AND stay inside the black lines of the designs. These tips will REDUCE SMUDGING and keep the cookies looking pretty.
5. Active painting time. We did 4 cookies per person and the painting fun lasted about 45 minutes. This activity is really fun for children of all ages! My 6-year-old loved it and was very successful, but the older girls were also totally into it!
6. Packing up the cookies and taking them home...the results were impressive! These girls were 10 years old and I think they did an amazing job. I carefully put the cookies on a paper plate (don't stack them!) and covered them with tin foil. You could have boxes ready, but the paper plate was just easier and cheaper.
So here's what you'll need to make PYO cookies (these are just suggestions):