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Pacie Krause and her mom, Stephanie, work together to create a yummy-looking gingerbread house at Akin Road Elementary School last Friday. Making gingerbread houses is an annual event at the school.

Students make sweet memories

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education Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

It might be a little hard to build a house when most of your supplies are being eaten, but somehow, kindergarteners at Akin Road Elementary School figured out a way.


Granted, the houses they were building were gingerbread houses. Paired up with parents, grandparents, family friends, aunts or uncles, the kindergarteners set to putting graham crackers and frosting to good use Dec. 17.

It's a tradition that's been around as long as ARES principal Karen Bergman can remember. They were doing it in the school years ago when she was a teacher. She's done it with her sons, too. And judging from the smiles and smudged faces that morning, it's a tradition that's likely to carry on for a few years.

Each student was asked to contribute building materials - graham crackers, frosting, licorice, gum drops, peppermints and other candies - and a plea was sent out to parents, asking for emptied ice cream buckets before the event.

The lids of the buckets are used as a base for the houses. Once the masterpiece is complete, the bucket is placed upside down over the gingerbread house so it can be transported home.

Students took little cups over to the table of building materials and carefully chose which features they wanted to add to their homes. (And, to that end, which goodies they wanted to snack on.)

Working with her mom, Stephanie, Pacie Krause admitted she really didn't have any plan when she selected the decorations for her gingerbread house. She picked out additions that she thought looked tasty. She had her fair share of samples, too.

"I'm going to eat this one," Pacie told her mom, as she stuck a small candy cane into mouth.

She wasn't the only one taste testing. All around the room, kids and adults were licking frosting from fingers, nibbling on Skittles or pieces of licorice and sneaking gumdrops.

Building the gingerbread houses took about 45 minutes. Once they were done, the students and their guests had pictures taken with the masterpieces.

Bergman said there's no special lesson or skill they hope to teach through the activity, other than to invite family members or friends into the building and do something special with the students and maybe create some memories along the way.

"It's just a very fun day," she said.