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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Baking With STEAM

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) concepts are all around us, from the electronic devices we use every day to how we budget and spend our money to the natural world in our own backyards – and even in the kitchen! Experimenting with cooking and baking is a fun way to explore fractions, chemical reactions and artistic expression.

Celebrate National Baking Day with this fun cookie decorating activity as you create edible designs.


Materials Needed

  • Edible markers or edible paint (purchased or DIY with extract and food coloring)
  • Sugar cookie dough


Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Have a conversation with a family member or friend about baking. Here are some questions you might ask:
    • What is your favorite baked good?
    • How do you think people express themselves through baking?
    • Can you find a baking connection for every letter in STEAM: Science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics?
    • What do you think are the most useful tools for baking? Why?
    • What can regional baked goods tell us about a place and its culture?
  2. Bake sugar cookies from scratch using a recipe from a book or the internet, or you can speed up the process by using pre-made dough. Be sure to ask an adult for help using the oven.
  3. Once fully baked, allow the cookies to cool and harden.
  4. Consider picking a theme for your cookie decorating, such as animals, flowers or other fun designs!
  5. Using edible markers or edible paint, decorate your cookies. For additional fun, try these twists:
    • Top your cookies with white icing for a bright canvas where you can add bold designs.
    • Cut a cookie in half. With the two halves together, draw or paint a picture. Create more designs and then mix the halves up for a game of matching.
    • Create a party game with trivia questions and draw or write the answers in icing on your cookies.
    • Design a game board on aluminum foil and have each participant use their cookie as a game piece.
  6. After all your cookies are decorated, enjoy them with family or friends. Every cookie can lead to more inspiring STEAM discussions!


What Are We Discovering?

Each day in kitchens around the world, people benefit from the ingenuity of many different inventors, including National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees. From Inductee Gail Borden Jr. inventing condensed milk to Inductee Joseph Lee pioneering the automation of bread and breadcrumb making during the late 1800s, inventors have made their way into our everyday lives in interesting and beneficial ways.

While electricity-based devices are often the first inventions that to come to mind when thinking about innovation in the kitchen, it is important to note that there are all kinds of inventions that can be patented and sold, making it easier, safer and even more fun to explore STEAM while cooking and baking.


Keep the Fun and Learning Going

For more awesome, hands-on STEAM experiences like this one, visit our blog and check out Camp Invention® this summer!

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