What I Learned from Gum Drops and Gingerbread

You Should Tell Your Friends!

What am I really teaching?

Every year I approach the holidays and vow that ‘this year will be different’. I will make those cookies with my kids, take time to play in the snow, and build gingerbread houses that would be the envy of the block. I would be ‘that kinda mom’ to make a mess and love it.  Every year though, I would plan to do that tomorrow… after we got through with school.

I would separate academic and play to ultimately teach my kids that ‘learning’ and ‘life’ are mutually exclusive. Learning only involves only books and being boring is just part of the deal. I would also end up with a mammoth size case of mom-guilt for not being the fun mom, all in the name of real education.

Days would come and go. We would be working away at ‘school’ but what was I really teaching?


Last year I had a bit of an awakening.

Learning and life are NOT mutually exclusive but I lived in fear of having nothing to document what we actually did all day. LearningKeeper has changed that, and ‘this year IS different’.

LearningKeeper lets me document that hands on activities that reinforce academic concepts. I thrive as mom because of it. No more guilt, no more fear, and no more feelings of inadequacy.


Learning Behind Making Gingerbread Houses

Take today for example. Math got messy at my house. We ditched the textbook for today with the goal to build those gingerbread houses that had previously been skipped over.

So what did we learn? Building gingerbread houses can teach the following:gingerbread houses 211x300 What I Learned from Gum Drops and Gingerbread

  • Patterns
  • Colors
  • Geometric Shapes
  • Combining Shapes
  • Dimensionality
  • Measurement
  • Following Directions
  • Listening
  • Visual Arts, Creativity
  • Turn it into a writing project by building a setting around your creation.
  • Create a story that happened in this setting.
  • Read some books about gingerbread houses and make it a thematic focus for the day.


We used graham crackers rather than making gingerbread.

You know, some shortcuts are just worth it.

Here’s my NO-FAIL Gingerbread House Glue:

2 lb bag of powdered sugar

12  – 14 T of cold water

3 T of cream of tartar

Dump the sugar in a mixing bowl. Add water and cream of tartar. Stir… gently! I use a stand mixer because this is…well… glue-like.

Place about a half cup to a cup at a time in freezer grade quart zip-locks.  This makes enough for about four kids.

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Make this year different.

For real this time.

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