Over the Thanksgiving holiday we had 5 kids under 5 sitting around a huge table making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers. It was a huge mess. Literally, the kids were filthy when it was all over. BUT they had a blast, so it was absolutely worth the extra laundry soap.
After the experience though, I have some tips to make your gingerbread house making much smoother.
Tip 1: GLUE!
- Before you even tell your kids that you are going to be making gingerbread houses glue those suckers together. Sure you’ll no longer be able to eat them, but does anyone actually do that?
Today I broke out the glue gun while Greyson was napping and glued his houses together. Whether you are using graham crackers, a premade “kit” from the store (like I did) OR you are pulling a Martha Stewart and baking your houses from scratch…use your glue gun and adhere them. This way when the kids bump them, or push too hard on the gum drops – the houses stay together.
IF you insist on making the houses 100% edible, start the night before with icing. Use the icing as glue and let them sit over night so the icing can harden before letting your kids decorate them.
Tip 2: WORK SPACE
- Cover it! I grabbed some Christmas wrapping paper left over from last year and covered the table top. I taped down the edges so it would not slip and slide or accidentally get pulled of the table. This make it SO easy when it comes to clean up! Just roll up the paper and toss. Easy peasy.
Tip 3: ICING
- Use the bottled kind. Not the tub, and not the pouch. The bottled is much stickier, thus allowing better adhesion of candy.
- The bottle is too hard for Greyson (and the other kids this past weekend) to use themselves. So, empty the bottle into a Ziploc bag OR an icing bag. Keep the bags on the smaller size, so it is easy for little hands to squeeze.
Tip 4: CANDY
- Open the candy and put it in little containers. This makes it easy for the kids to see what they have available to them. Also if they are in containers versus bags they are less likely to be spilled.
- I used plastic condiment cups because it is what we already had.
- Anything from paper plates / bowls, Dixie cups, or cupcake liners. They all work!
- If your child is anything like mine, they will eat some of the candy. Or maybe most of the candy. Therefore, plan accordingly! Don’t make these an hour before you want them to take a nap or go to bed. Also, don’t make these while you cook dinner and then expect them to still be hungry when you serve it. : ) I am sure a bit of a sugar high will happen.
** The icing bag Greyson is using in the image above was easy for him to use, BUT the icing was too runny.
Do you have any tips I missed? If you do, I would love to hear them!