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DIY Gift: Santa Cookies in a Jar

Students practiced many literacy skills while making these tasty treats to eat with family and friends!

A student smiling while holding a mason jar filled with the cookie ingredients.

December marks the start of the holiday gift giving season. It’s very important that our students with visual impairments get to take part in the joy of giving to family, friends, and teachers alongside their peers and siblings. A favorite holiday activity with my students and my own child is making cookies for Santa. During one class with elementary students, I thought it might be fun to share the love of baking with families, so we made a cookie mix in a jar to take home and enjoy later. Students practiced many literacy skills in making these tasty treats to eat with family and friends or to leave out for the jolly gift giver himself!

Materials

I researched some different recipes and found the one I liked best. It can be found at the following link: Cookies in a Mason Jar

  • 1 quart mason jar (wide mouthed)
  • Wide mouthed funnels. I like the ones linked here because they are collapsible for easy storage. You may prefer hard plastic or metal if there’s potential for the student to collapse the funnel during use.
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Utensil for leveling
  • A bowl to pour ingredients into. This makes measuring a bit easier than trying to dig deeply into a small flour or sugar bag.
  • Food service tray or other “catch all” space to work on
  • Baking ingredients as listed in the recipe linked above
  • Printed copy of the recipe for students to read from
  • Materials for creating the instructions tag
A student smiling while holding a mason jar filled with the cookie ingredients.
A mason jar with layers of ingredients to make cookies such as sugar, flour, and colored chocolate candies

Procedure

  1. Ask students to participate in measuring the dry ingredients and layering them into each jar using a wide mouthed funnel as directed in the recipe linked above.
  2. Seal the jar and use holiday fabric or other materials to decorate the top.
  3. Produce the tag for at-home baking instructions.
  4. Attach tags to the jars of cookie mix.
  5. Share this gift with families and favorite teachers.
A student securing the lid to the mason jar filled with cookie ingredients

Variations and Extensions

  • Offer hand-under-hand support as needed.
  • Allow students who are tactually selective to wear gloves to participate.
  • Provide the recipe in your student’s preferred literacy media so that they can facilitate the process and practice reading.
  • Build self-determination and social skills by asking the student to lead a group of peers or family members in completing the activity.
  • Encourage the student to produce the instructions tag in an accessible format.
  • Include math skills by focusing on measuring, converting ounces to cups, estimating how many M&Ms are in the designated measurement amount, or measuring fabric or ribbon needed to decorate the jar.
  • Teach techniques for accurate measuring such as leveling off ingredients and digging deeply into the container of each item to fill the cup or spoon.
  • Discuss concepts like texture, layering, wet vs dry ingredients, wide vs narrow, or powder vs granules.

As I mentioned above, I love making cookies in a jar with students. During the elementary class mentioned above, we made many DIY gifts and created a book of pictures documenting each student with their creations. We also included the recipes and procedures so that families could replicate these activities at home.

Happy Gifting!

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