Saturday, December 7, 2013

Easy Gingerbread House Idea for Toddlers and Kids

A few years back I had this great idea to buy a gingerbread house mold to make it 'easier' to make gingerbread houses with the kids each year.  It was after the holiday and the Wilton Gingerbread Mold Pan was on super clearance at the craft store.  I should have known there was a reason it was still available.  There's no way any person in their right mind - who wants to stay in their right mind - would attempt to make a gingerbread house from scratch alongside a toddler and a five year old.

My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I brought the kit home.  Not that that's too out of the ordinary, but this time I did think he had a point.  I promptly returned it - but with the mindset that my kids would not go through their childhood deprived of making Christmas-time gingerbread houses.

Then last year my aunt told me her little secret - use milk cartons (and Halloween candy) to make easy, kid-friendly, and inexpensive gingerbread houses.  How freaking genius is that?

My 2 year old and I set out to get all our supplies: 2 pint-size milk cartons, some kid-friendly candy (none of those tiny rock hard bead-like candies that come with the gingerbread kits), what remained of our Halloween candy stash, a container of pre-made icing, and a box of graham crackers. 

I apologize for the fuzzy photo...the kids were begging me to stop taking pictures so they could get started.

I started by emptying the half and half containers and arming both my two and five year olds with a small spreader and a big scoop of icing.  We put their milk cartons on paper plates so they could easily turn them to decorate each side.

My five year old was able to make her gingerbread house completely on her own with no help from me.

My two year old needed very little help.  He doesn't like getting his hand messy, so I took over spreading the icing and he placed the crackers on the cartons (and a few landed in his mouth).

The candies were 'glued' on with icing, as well.   The kids just dunked them in a dollup of icing and placed them where they wanted them.   It took a lot of concentrating, in some cases. :)

Guess what...nothing broke.  Nothing fell over.  Nothing caved in.  There was no waiting for icing to set and dry.  There was no arguing over a single gingerbread house, there were no tears because the roof slid off...again, and there was no swearing by me under my breath that I would never.make.gingerbread.houses again.   It was just pure sugary fun.

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