This recipe for yummy gingerbread trains is just packed with learning opportunities for children. Your little ones will love rolling out the dough and counting the carriages. I made these with my three year old yesterday and she sorted all smarties into their different colours! I would love to hear what creative ideas your children come up with.
What you need:
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 small spoon (teaspoon) bicarb of soda
- 2 small spoons (teaspoons) of ground ginger
- 1 small spoon (teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- 3 lines (150gms) of butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 big spoons (tablespoons) of golden syrup
- 3 big spoons (tablespoons) of water
- At least one child and one grown up
What you need to do:
- Turn the oven knob around to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Count each cup of flour and tip into a bowl. Add the bicarb soda, ginger and cinnamon counting each spoon.
- Find the little lines on the block of butter (which mark 50grams) and count three. Then cut through with a warm knife. Cut the butter into cubes then add it to the mixture.
- Put your hands in the bowl and rub the butter through the mixture until it is crumbly. Rubbing the mixture helps children to strengthen finger muscles- (important for learning to write).
Some questions to ask your child:
How many small spoons of ingredients all together?
What does the mixture feel like?
Can you smell the different ingredients? Which smell do you like best? Do the smells remind you of anything?
Can you recognise any letters on the packets? What sound does the ‘G’ make on the ginger?
- Measure the cup of brown sugar and tip it into the mixture. Add two eggs, and count four big spoons of golden syrup. Have a little taste of the golden syrup. Yum!
- Mix everything together. Sprinkle some flour on the bench and then tip out the mixture out. Pick up the dough in your hands. Is it heavy or light? Is it ready to eat? What might we have to do before we can eat it?
- Roll the dough out until flat. If you have a train shaped cookie cutter, that’s fantastic! If not, just cut some rectangles with a knife. You may like to add some wheels to each rectangle, or cut one so that it has a cabin for the train driver to sit in. Rub some butter on a baking tray using a piece of grease-proof paper. Count how many carriages you have made, and then put them on the tray.
- Decide how many smarties you would like on each carriage, and then stick them on. What pattern can you make? What colours will each carriage have? Do you have the same number on each carriage or do some have more than others?
Numeracy Concepts to talk about:
Use words like ‘heavy,’ ‘light,’ ‘full’ and ‘empty’ to help children develop their understanding of these important mathematic concepts. Count ingredients being sure to point to each thing you are counting so that children understand that each number corresponds with an actual thing.
Prediction: Ask children what might be going to happen next to help children learn to make predictions. Read through the recipe together to help child understand how to sequence and follow a plan, using words like ‘first’ we do this and ‘next’ we do that.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
- Get them out and wait for ten minutes until they cool down. Put them on a plate and offer them to your friends, or eat them all yourself!