Teaching math to children doesn’t have to be boring. STEM teaching is all about teaching children in a fun and exciting way that helps excel and put into practice learning. To inspire the next generation of potential Scientists, Technological workers, Engineers and Mathematicians. Back in the days of our own learning, math could be a very boring lesson to sit through, with not much, if any imagination to help children be enthused by it. This simply isn’t true any longer: teachers and parents are thinking outside the box for learning and it is working!
Today we will be sharing how to make edible dominos. Edible dominos you say? Surely not?! Yes, it’s true! We will be making domino cookies and the good thing about them is your children can help make and bake them, AS WELL as learning and playing a game afterwards. Baking after all is fundamentally about getting the perfect ratios to make the yummiest result, so what better way to make a Maths game by baking it. It really is a winner!
The Rules of Dominos
This game is a fantastic game to play with your family or students and works with a whole range of ages. The rules are simple and easy to follow. You can make your game as long or short as you want it. Our favorite thing about this game is that it is wonderful for children learning to count and recognise patterns.
A good way to start to this game is to explain the rules to your children and go through each of the domino pieces so they understand the pieces.
Number of players:
- Turn all of your dominos over so that the numbered dots are facing the floor/surface. Each person pick one piece up. The person who gets the highest score (literally by counting how many spots are on theirs) goes first. Now put back all the pieces face down again.
- If there are only two players, each picks up 7 pieces. If there are more than two, pick 5 pieces each.
- Put the remaining pieces in a pile in the middle, this is the draw pile.
- It is up to you whether you decide to hide your pieces so your opponents can see or not.
- The idea of the game is to match up the numbers and you can put a piece vertically or horizontally next to the same number piece at the end.
- If it is your go and you have no pieces that match, take one off the draw pile. If you can then play, play, if not you skip your go. When the draw pile finishes and you can’t play at all you will have to skip your go.
- The person who can play all the way to the end and finishes all their pieces wins.
Whether you only have time for a quick round or a long game this is the perfect game. You can play win or lose, or a longer bout playing rounds to see who reaches the winning number first. Just remember… no eating the pieces until you are done playing! Let’s be honest, this is the bonus part of this STEM activity, if you play this as a family you have lots of fun family learning time AND a great snack afterwards. I guarantee it won’t be long until they have all disappeared!
We used a gluten and wheat free gingerbread recipe, however you can use whichever favorite gingerbread recipe you have at home. Try to stick to a gingerbread recipe though as they are easier to handle and less likely to break when playing with the pieces.
- 1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (if your flour includes it, don’t add anymore)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
- 80g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 tbsp molasses
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Icing sugar
- colored candy coated chocolate beans
- baking trays
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups and scales
- small rectangular cookie cutter OR domino cookie cutter set
- icing bottle
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and line your baking trays with baking parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients – xanthan gum, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Mix to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the wet ingredients – molasses, honey, butter, egg and vanilla. Combine until it forms a sticky dough.
- Cut out two sheets of baking parchment and place the dough in-between them. Roll out the dough to a 1/2 centimetres depth. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden a little. This will make the next cutting bit much easier.
- Peel off the top layer of baking parchment, sprinkle some flour on top and start to cut out your dominoes with your rectangular domino cookie cutter. Place your dominos onto the baking tray, making sure you give each one space to expand in the oven.
- If you have bought a special domino cutter set, start to imprint your domino pieces. If you do not, and it most certainly isn’t necessary to have one, just put them straight into the oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheets when they come out of the oven.
Tip: If you don’t have either a rectangular cutter or domino cutter, draw out a rectangle on some cardboard, cut it out and use a sharp knife to cut around it on the dough.
- Start to mix some icing sugar to make a paste and if you have a squeegee bottle pour it in there.
- If you need help, find some domino pieces so you can copy the numbers on them. Using the icing sugar, make little dots where all the smarties/ chocolate beans will be put on top. Place them on top of the icing so that they can dry in place. It should dry fairly quickly.
Grace Selous Bull is an arts education author and freelance blogger. Her book, ‘Potty About Pots: arts and crafts for home and school’ is aimed at children from 5-12 years old and takes them through a journey of ceramics through time. Her blog, The Rainbow Tree, explores all aspects of arts and crafts, and is aimed at children of all ages. She is a full time Mummy of two girls, both of whom love being creative, and is married to her husband, Andrew, who does not. Follow her on instagram and twitter.
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