Although marshmallows, peppermints and frosting dotted the floor of Marla Cory’s kindergarten classroom at Thomas Jefferson Elementary on Thursday afternoon, the mess was the least of her worries.
Deemed the “Candy House Room” on a whiteboard outside the door, Cory’s classroom welcomed students from each of the five kindergarten classes and their parents in decorating “gingerbread” houses made from milk cartons, frosting and graham crackers.
The activity was merely one of six crafts teachers planned out for students to create over the course of the day with help from parents and grandparents. Extra teachers were on hand to accompany students whose family members weren’t available to attend.
“It’s a fun day for parents to come in and spend time with their kids in the classroom,” Cory said. “This is our third year making candy houses. We used to do it when I was over at Emerson Hough, so I brought it here and it’s become sort of a tradition.”
In addition to the candy houses, students crafted necklaces from construction paper fashioned like string lights, mixed up “reindeer chow” snack mix and turned paper plates into Santa Claus faces.
While the festive day may have appeard to be all fun and games, Cory explained that each activity encompassed an educational element for the students, as well.
“All of the things the kids are doing today still tie in with the curriculum,” she said.
This was apparent as Daci Schnelling counted out the pattern of Froot Loops on her house’s roof: pink, orange, blue, pink, orange, blue.
Elsewhere, Cadance Melling covered his house in shredded coconut “snow” with the help of his dad while Carli Bonnet sorted through bowls of candy, searching for just the right piece to accent her house.
“It’s so wonderful to see the kid’s faces, and the parents’ too,” Cory said. “They just have no worries. It’s a great way of getting into the holiday season.”
Many of the day’s acitivies were made possible through contributions by the Thomas Jefferson PTA and the Newton Hy-Vee.