Rule number one? You don't need to bake a batch of cookies from scratch for an afternoon of fun with little ones.
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decorate cookies sprinkles sugar
Credit: Nico Schinco

If the thought of baking another batch of gingerbread makes you want to run from the kitchen as fast as you can, here's a sweet little secret: Nyåkers Holiday Gingersnaps ($18.98 for 13.05 oz., amazon.com), made from the Swedish brand's 1952 recipe, come in whimsical shapes with details perfect for piping—including a pig in honor of the customary Swedish Christmas ham. Assemble toppings, whip up some royal icing, and hand the keys to the cookie kingdom to your diminutive decorators. This is the easiest way to go about decorating a batch of gingerbread cookies with little ones

decorating sugar cookies
Credit: Nico Schinco

Breezy Squeezy

We're big boosters for royal icing; it's stiffer and glossier than frosting or glaze for cookies. We make a batch or two for any cookie decorating session. To help kids pipe like pros, forget the piping bags and tips and fill mini condiment bottles with icing.

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Creative director Abbey Kuster-Prokell decants toppings like sanding sugar, sprinkles, and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds into a muffin tin. That way everything is easy to see and the decorations are easy for little hands to grab, plus there are no containers to get knocked over.

Food Styling by Riley Wofford

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