Are you looking for educational – but fun – activities that teach history? When you mention HISTORY to your kids…do their eyes glaze over? What about combining historical events, STEM (via baking skills), hand-eye coordination, creativity, and learning?
How is this possible, you may ask? Teach history with gingerbread! See our free gingerbread and icing recipes, cookie templates, shopping lists, and instructions.
We love ancient history. We both took the class in high school. Chariots, archers on horseback, moats, archeology, ancient languages…hidden treasure!
But, we realize that not all kids are so interested in history. So, we had a bunch over and were able to teach history with enthusiasm by involving them in building a historic event from gingerbread…and it was a huge success.
What city did we use to teach history but make it fun?
Making History Fun: Ancient Babylon in Gingerbread
We tried to make history fun by creating the historical city of Babylon with gingerbread and destroying it. What kid will say no to eating the delicious ruins?!
We took the kids through a brief journey of its history while they constructed it and then through the fateful night when it fell to the Medes and the Persians (they loved this part).
The kids had a blast, and afterward, parents told us they were definitely more interested in history!
At the bottom of this page are separate lists and instructions per item and one list with all ingredients on a complete shopping list.
The free recipe is below, using meringue powder instead of raw eggs. An example of meringue powder is a well-known brand Wilton
Decorating Icing dries non-tacky (Crusting Buttercream, free recipe below in Resources)
Gingerbread Construction Cookie Recipe (Note: this isn’t the same as a normal cookie recipe. Free recipe below in Resources)
Depending on the scale, make a single batch, double it – or be unwise like us and make cookie dough until you can’t take it anymore. This level of cookie dough making may make it into your dreams…
Thickness Guide & Rolling Pin: These rolling pin thickness sets are handy to help you learn how to roll even thicknesses (and correct thicknesses!)
City Plan (or free shapes. See the guide below in Resources)
You can easily cut your own or buy a cookie-cutter kit and use the preferred pieces.
Squeeze bottles will make construction easier, so try a squeeze bottle for the Cement Icing (Royal Icing). Different bottle sizes are helpful if making small batch colors for cookies, too (to use with buttercream icing, for example).
Piping bags with different tips make decorating more fun. You could buy a piping bag with the Decorating Icing (Crusting Buttercream).
Mini gingerbread people cookie cutters for the action figures. This one comes with three sizes.
Parchment paper, for example, this one from If You Care
Decorations (see suggestion list in Resources)
Food dye, if you desire
A Regular Gingerbread Cookie Recipe is Too Soft
Chill the Dough Before Rolling
Rolling the Dough
Setting Before Decorating
Icing and Decorating
Additional Ideas For Teaching History
If your kids want to go all out, use tin foil to make crowns and armor or whatever historical items are associated with your gingerbread event, as seen in the photos above.
Or, even more involved, you can make masks, armor, and helmets out of paper Mache.
For more information, see Paper Mache Crafts for Kids: Masks, Armor, Animals & More.
The Big Sis