Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Gingerbread House Experience:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I've always had a vision of making a gingerbread house with my children....from scratch. Well, I knew that wasn't going to happen this year.
I figured it was worth $10 and a little bit of compromising to buy a kit from Target and have some semblance of my original vision.

Overall, it was fun. However, I'm not sure my kids were quite ready for this project. Here are my thoughts on the good and the bad of our experience.

The gingerbread house itself....well, it was just plain ugly!!

Seriously, it was not structurally sound, and the house fell to pieces not long after we built it.

  • The children were beyond excited to make a house out of candy and cookies. That alone made the experience worth it.
  • The directions said to squeeze the frosting around in the bag before using it. It was pretty thick, so it was a good hand-strengthening exercise.
  • Putting all the candy on the house was a good fine-motor activity and was somewhat creative.
  • We have a number of books that mention gingerbread houses. Now the boys have a concrete experience to fit together with these stories. 
  • This kit was filled with filled with artificial flavors, artificial colors, and all sorts of other yucky stuff. Not to mention insane amounts of sugar.
  • It was difficult for the children to control themselves. I'd say at least 25% of the candy never made it to the construction site. It's possible the house may have been licked a few times.
  • Most of the project was too difficult for small children. I did most of it myself.
  • It seemed wasteful. We certainly weren't going to eat the whole thing (it wouldn't have tasted good anyway). If we left it out, it would have attracted bugs. We ended up throwing it out the next day. 
I would definitely like to try this project again when the children are older and we have better quality building materials. Perhaps I can also get some advice from a structural engineer. ☺


  1. Guess it is all in the eye of the beholder, but I think that your house turned out really cute! As far as the candies and cookies being full of artificial everything, you are right...but we don't eat the house, we just use ours as a decoration. what I have done is when we make our houses, I have a little bowl of pretzels and M & Ms that they can eat while making their houses, as I don't want them eating the other things like the mini jaw breakers or the very stale gum drops that come with the kits.
    Mine also like to lick some of the frosting and since the frosting that comes with the kits resembles paste, we refer to that as the gingerbread paste and have additional frosting that I have either made or purchased that is still full of sugar but is at least not nearly as bad for them to eat.
    Wanted to let you know that I added a link to your nice blog post over on my blog post about gingerbread too:

    Hope to see you soon!

    :) Colleen

  2. It looks like they had fun doing it though.

  3. Thanks, Colleen - you're sweet. Great suggestions. Now that I have some good advice and experience under my belt, I expect next year to go more smoothly. :)

    @4timesblessed - Yes! They did have a lot of fun! There was certainly some benefit to doing this project, even with all the downsides.