Kids would love to do math if we made sure such great activities as gingerbread house decorating were included. This is sure sweet and tasty math play.
How can decorating a gingerbread house be math? Math is not just numbers, but shapes too. Check out the shapes of the wall and roof. The top of the house is a triangle. The roof, side walls doors and windows are rectangles. The front and back pieces of the house are a rectangle with a triangle on top. The candies are all different shapes. Besides circles and squares, some are like long, thin tubes or cylinders. Gumdrops are a circle on the bottom and almost come to a point on the top like a cone.
For numbers, the candies are sweet to count. In gingerbread house kits, the candies usually come in groups. Each kind is in a separate small bag. Often, when we buy the candies, they get sorted in little dishes. This is also a math strategy. Are there more of one kind than another? Relationships are a critical part of math so we can say is something is bigger than something else. We have to compare amounts before stating there are more gumdrops than peppermint swirls. There’s more to numbers than counting.
As you are decorating, ask your child a few questions. For instance, some might be, “Which is the smallest candy? Which is the biggest? Making a pattern is another possibility for kids who are ready. A simple pattern is red candy/green candy, followed by red candy/green candy again.
Doing the steps in order is the skill of sequencing. We can’t stick the candies on until the walls are up. We have to wait to dust the house with icing-sugar snow until the very last. No, that’s not the last step in gingerbread house decorating. Isn’t eating it all up The End? At least, until next year?
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