Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Cookie Class with Durham Parks and Recreation

Here's a post on some great holiday fun from Durham Parks and Rec, courtesy of Stir Crazy Mom, Kat!

Durham Parks & Rec offers several great holiday options for the kids that are super in three ways: 1) Festive. 2) Cheap. 3) Indoors!

This past week my son went to the Holiday Cookie Class at the Walltown Rec Center (near Northgate mall). The teacher had the parents step out, which I think increased the fun because they felt like big kid chefs. Then they followed a recipe, combined ingredients, stirred, and shaped cookies. As they baked, the kids talked about cooking safety, did some coloring, and learned about other holiday recipes. Then at the end they got to enjoy their treats. My 5 year old was the youngest (and only boy) but that didn't stop him from having a blast. It was a really nice little activity on a weeknight. 

There are two more of these events left this year, so make sure to check them out!

What we liked: 
  • The price is right! Only $1.25 (yes, you read that right) if you are a Durham County resident with a playmore card (which gives you discounts for all DPR activities), or $1.50 without the card. It's around $5-6 if you don't live in Durham. 
  • Even though the kids did all the mixing, the staff chose to have a different set of cookies ready to bake that the teacher prepared personally. They switched those out with the ones the kids made and none of the kids were any the wiser. DPR did this to avoid any kind of germ issues since many kids at this time of year are sick and there is really no way to separate whose cookies are whose on the baking sheet. I thought that was a great idea, and it didn't impact the fun the kids had. 
  • Additionally, they were incredibly kind about my son's food allergies. I forgot to ask about ingredients until right before class. What they mixed and made was allergen free, but the cookies that she baked in place of them was not. Luckily I brought cookies from home for him to eat, so he was still totally happy. The teacher was very apologetic, even though I didn't let her know ahead of time, so I didn't expect them to change anything obviously. They're going to have nut free products in the next class to accommodate him, which is very gracious of them and unexpected to me. It makes me know that DPR really means it when they say they are inclusive and I appreciate it greatly. 
  • Lastly, the facilities were really great. Walltown is one of the newer centers, and the kitchen is very clean and state of the art, with a mirrored tile along the ceiling so kids can really see what's going on. There was a basketball clinic going on in the gym, and exercise machines and the walkway available, so if you wanted to take advantage of any of that while waiting, it'd be a great time to get a workout in.

What we'd change:
  • Since the description mentions icing cookies, that would be a nice addition to have, since putting frosting and sprinkles on is half the fun. But each class tackles a different holiday dessert, so the upcoming cupcake one might do that.
  • I only wish that there was a class held slightly closer to south Durham, at the Campus Hills location, as going downtown at rush hour can be challenging with younger ones.

Here's the class description and what you need to know to register:

Holiday Cookie Class
"Get your little ones into the holiday spirit by creating some holiday cookies that taste as good as they look. Baked cookies will be ready for your child to decorate using royal icing and chocolate."
Age: 5-12 
CR PC $1.25; CR NPC $1.50
NCR PC $5.50; NCR NPC $6.50
Walltown Park Recreation Center
Address: 1308 W. Club Blvd.
Phone: (919) 560-4296
#12119 Dec 3 Tu 6pm-7pm 
#12120 Dec 17 Tu 6pm-7pm
You can register in person or in some cases online. I've found in person (at any rec center) is easier and you could even try calling the day of to see if there are openings and just register before class.

Here's another upcoming unique DPR holiday event. We wanted everyone to know about it before we reviewed it, since like Christmas it only comes once a year!

Swim with Santa
"Get in the swim with Santa Claus! At this fun family event, children will get to play in the shallow water with Santa, and make holiday-themed arts and crafts projects on the pool deck. Lifejackets will be provided as needed. An adult must enter the water with children 9 years of age and younger."
Age: All Ages 
CR PC $5; CR NPC $6
NCR PC $10; NCR NPC $11
Edison Johnson Aquatic Center
#12184 Dec 14 Sa 5:30pm-7pm 


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