We've been working through the symbolism on the American flag this week, so when A (age 11) ask if she could invite a couple of girlfriends over for the afternoon, I said, "Sure, you guys (translate that to y'all if you live in the South) can help me decorate some cookies."
I didn't tell her that there'd be a civics lesson thrown in, as well. The girls didn't seem to mind, though.
I set them up with 50 star cookies, made from a single batch of plain sugar cookie dough (click here, for the recipe) laid out in 11 rows flag-style, a map of the United States, and three bags of frosting - red, white, and blue, with a tiny corner snipped from each one, so the girls could use them to pipe a state abbreviation onto each of the cookies.
The girls worked feverishly, with a little bit of chaos as they realized two states had been duplicated, raising the total number of stars to 52, and my left-hander had some issues with the piping bag, but all in all they did a fantastic job, and I think they might have even learned an abbreviation or two they didn't already know.
As a reward, I pulled out an extra cookie for each girl, and the rest of my own children, to decorate as they pleased. Not that we needed more cookies, mind you, but it really did bring out the creativity, zaniness, and individuality of each child.
Of course, now no one get to eat any of the state stars unless they can identify the abbreviation on the cookie.
It's great to be a homeschooler.