I will be the first one to admit that I hadn't decorated a sugar cookie since I was in elementary school. They seemed too much trouble. You spend all that time decorating to just go ahead and eat them. But times have changed, and I have an elementary-aged child who loves to dabble in the arts (painting and sculpting clay). Loretta also likes to show off her culinary skills (she's moved from stirring a pot of water on her little table to making supervised scrambled eggs). She also loves decorating sugar cookies with her friends. There's a lot of entertainment packed into flour, colored sugars and a few eggs.
Sugar cookies are a rolled cookie in which the dough is made ahead of time and refrigerated. The dough also freezes well. I always make mine ahead of time. Even if you don't have time to make the dough yourself, there are some good store bought versions out there. Kids don't notice any difference. I think the fun is in the decorating not the eating. Although, I must say this recipe for sugar cookies is pretty good. In fact one of Loretta's teachers says that my sugar cookies are "sturdy, yet tasty." Sturdy means perfect for decorating and tasty means good to eat too.
Look on the next 3 pages for the suggested shopping list, recipe, and some fun flavor variations. Enjoy!