Monday, December 1, 2008

Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Houses!

Today we will make Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Houses!

You will need:
  • 16-oz. (pint) milk, cream, half'n'half, juice or other cardboard carton, rinsed out and dried
  • square of sturdy cardboard, roughly 8"
  • aluminum foil
  • masking or packing tape
  • plastic baggies
  • assorted colorful candies, cereals, pretzels, crackers
  • plain graham crackers (not cinnamon-coated, the frosting won't stick very well on those)

  • Additionally for the frosting you will need:

  • Powdered sugar
  • water, cream, or milk
  • vanilla, if you want it
  • meringue powder or an egg white
    (Note: the egg white or meringue powder gives the frosting a glossier look and makes it dry stiff to the touch)
    (Note 2: most people no longer consider it safe to eat raw egg white. If small children or other people who will lick their fingers a lot are going to do this project, you may want to buy meringue powder. Or also if you intend to eat these after they are made.)


  • Prepare the frosting: put powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons meringue powder in a mixer. If you like vanilla, add about 1/2 teaspoon. I like it, but your frosting will not be as glowing white with it. I also add a pinch of salt. While mixer is on low speed, add enough liquid of choice (water, milk, or cream) to make a relatively thick frosting.
  • For ease of application, put about 1/3 cup frosting into a plastic baggie. This will be easier if you tuck a corner of the plastic baggie into a jar. Twist-tie firmly shut just above the frosting. When it is time to use the frosting, snip a small tip off the baggie and away you go!
  • Cover the squares of cardboard with foil, taping it down on the back. Tape the cardboard carton to the top of the foil-covered square.

  • If working with very small children, you will want to cut the crackers. Older children can probably do it. They cut easily if you use a serrated-edge table knife (doesn't have to be sharp) to score them, then break along the score line.

    You will want to have the following pieces:

  • 4 whole crackers with about 1" cut off of them
  • 2, half-cracker squares
  • 1, half-cracker square cut diagonally into 2 right triangles (for house gables).

  • To Assemble House:

  • Using frosting as "glue," stick a whole, trimmed cracker to each side of the carton. You will have a little margin down each side that the cracker doesn't cover. Don't worry about it! You can fill the gap in with frosting and candies or whatever, later on.
  • Put frosting in a line at the top and bottom of one side of one of the squares, and stick them on the sloping sides of the carton at the top for the roof. They may overlap a little at the top.
  • Stick each triangle at each end of the carton roof "peak" as the gable.
  • Decorate with candies!
  • Pretzels make great doors and windows.
  • Square checkered cereals make great roof tiles or paving stones for a sidewalk! Or stand them on end for flower-bed edging.
  • Graham-cracker bears make good "people"
  • Sugar Cone ice cream cones covered with green frosting and red rope licorice make great Christmas Trees!
  • Go wild!
  • When your houses are dry, take a picture (put the picture in an ornament frame with the date, to hang on the tree!). Then eat them! You can make a whole village if you want... or get together with friends and let all the kids do houses at once!

    Below is a picture of our houses. From left to right: Betsy's house made my mommy (me), niece Dana's (5) house, grandson Jeremiah's (3) house, Josiah's (8) house, and Veronica's (10) house. Yum!

  • 4 comments: said...

    I love this idea!!! You are so so brave!!! LOL We are gonna do gingerbread men as I am not so adventureious. If I even spelled that right? God Bless Marion

    Hamncheezr said...

    And great fun was had by all...I put a pic of Jeremiah's on my blog too

    SunshineofAutumnQuilts said...

    Thank you so much for posting the instructions. Even my husband will love these! I can't wait to do them with the kids over Christmas Break. We are always looking for great ideas, esp things we can do as a family at home. Just wonderful. We will post some pictures after we do them.
    Thanks again

    Lee Purdum Lehman said...

    Wow! Look at those gingerbread houses! These kids are ready for ETSY!!!!!!!!!! Clap, clap, clap, clap!!! Bells & Whistles!!!! Great job!