Are any of you guys making gingerbread houses this year? I LOVED doing this with my kids as a celebration. They LOVED it! It can be easy and lots of fun. Here are a few “”tips” I have collected over the years.
1.) Make sure to buy CHINET plates. Yes, they are expensive but they are SO worth it. The weight of the plates holds up well to kiddo use and abuse and icing overload. I liked the dinner plates without any of the dividers.
2.) Collect milk cartons from the cafeteria several days in advance so you can rinse them out and let them air dry before making them (ewww, stinky sour milk smell!). I always collected them and then let them air dry on the counters in my classroom. I was VERY lucky to have a sink in my room.
3.) Use a stapler to staple the top of the houses closed. Then, hot glue the milk cartons to the Chinet plates the day before you make them. This makes it SO much easier for students rather than trying to use icing to cement it to the place…which never works.
4.) Cover the student’s work tables. This sounds obvious. Like common sense, right? Yeah, well not my first year! Whoops! You can use cheap plastic table clothes from the Dollar Store, newspaper, or butcher paper.
4.) I made the building time as low key as possible. Students shared a tub of icing (no licking!). They went “shopping for decorations.” I laid out all the candies and each student was given a Styrofoam bowl. They told me what they wanted and I filled the bowls. If they wanted more candy (and there was extra), students raised their hands and I refilled the bowl. I limited student movement. I explained to them it would be easy to accidentally knock over someone’s else’s bowl of candies or houses…and that would be sad. Super sad. Like Sadsville sad.
5.) My kids were always sad to stop building. They had more candy they wanted to eat, er add to their house! To make everyone happy, I gave each child a baggie and they dumped all of the candy from their bowls into the baggies. The icing went into the trash.
Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.