The holidays have come and gone. Families and friends have traveled far and wide to spend quality time together as we all wrap up our year full of memorable moments. We’ve now begun a new year, a new chapter in our lives that has opportunity knocking at every corner. As we’re arriving back from a relaxing break, I found myself entering the classroom with a clear mind. I took this as a good time to reflect upon moments and activities the children worked hard on before taking time off in December.
As the holidays approached, the children were feeling the spirit. They had requested to make a gingerbread house and gingerbread cookies. For the holiday market, Salowa and the children had crafted a candy gingerbread house together that came out beautifully. Switching up the activity a bit, the children helped plan and design a life size cardboard gingerbread house that they couldn’t eat, but could PLAY inside of!
We started with coloring and painting candy canes on paper, lollipops and candies on paper plates, and hand printing a wreath for the gingerbread house. The children began to ask when their candy would dry and when they could play. We had a discussion about the activity taking more than a day to finish, which feels like an eternity to a preschooler. It would require our patience, taking turns, and working together because of the multi steps and materials needed for the activity. They were ready! Practicing patience is important for anyone, especially children as they are just beginning their lives. During this activity, the children are experiencing moments of slowing down and thinking about themselves and those around them. They’re gaining friendships, kindness, trust, responsibility and confidence.
Paint needed to dry. Decorations (candy, wreath) needed to be cut out. The house needed to be built, painted, and finally designed. With a lot of help from Robert, we got the base and roof of the house built sturdy enough to last two weeks in the classroom. The house got painted, dried, and all the children’s creative candies were glued inside and outside of the house. Last but not least, they got to PLAY and their laughs and smiles showed me the enjoyment they had after all of their hard work!
For those who got tuckered out playing in the house, we began cooking. Gingerbread cookies have many steps before they can be eaten. The dough needs refrigeration after mixing all of the ingredients together, then the dough would be rolled out, cut out with gingerbread cookie cutters, baked, cooled, and then frosted. This was another activity where the children would continue practicing patience, working together and taking turns. Cooperatively working in a large group, the children each received measurements of the items we needed to add into our mixture to make the gingerbread dough. While the dough was being chilled, the children moved on to their second recipe and made the icing for the cookies. Having to work around the classroom schedule, the rolling of the dough, cookie cutting, and icing cookies became a three-day process. I’m so proud to say they stuck to both of the long activities the entire time!