Making gingerbread houses with my kiddos is an activity we look forward to every holiday season. And this year wasn’t any different—as soon as I mentioned picking out the supplies to make their houses, they were all over it. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few key tips to save my sanity when we have our gingerbread house making nights, and now, I’m sharing them with you!
1. Use a table runner to lay out supplies
Lay a table runner right down the middle of your table before you start to set up. This will give you a space to put all of your supplies, and it can help guide your little ones to keep all of the decorations in that space. We used this pretty Signature Plaid Table Runner because it is so festive and really helps to set the holiday mood!
2. Make icing simple
To make the icing simple for kids to use, set them up prior (most have a label to peel off and top to attach) and store them in an open container so you can have them nozzle up. This way, they’re easy to take out, less of a mess, and your kids can see all of their color options in front of them the entire time.
3. Create levels
Use galvanized cake stands to set supplies at different levels. Because when everything is laid out it can make accessing everything tricky. Levels help keep things easy to grab when needed.
4. Make the decorations accessible
Put the sprinkles and other toppings in open containers so your little ones can grab what they need. We tried using spoons but after about 5 minutes the boys were all-hands-in!
5. Pre-make the houses
If you’re doing this activity with little ones under two, go ahead and pre-make the actual gingerbread house so they can get right to decorating. Putting the houses together can be tricky, and the icing will need time to set before it’s ready.
6. Use baking pans as placemats
Pull out a few baking pans for the larger kits. This will allow you to build and decorate on a flat surface, and makes clean-up a breeze! You won’t have icing and sprinkles all over because they’ll all be falling right in the pan!
7. Clear as you go
Keep a garbage bag handy for all of the packaging, wrappers, and paper that you’ll come across. Keeping a bag handy will help to keep your table clear and uncluttered.
8. Use glue if needed
If the gingerbread houses are extra hard to put together (and keep together) and you won’t be eating them, use a strong glue. Some of the pieces can be tricky to adhere, and real glue does the trick!
9. Think about your child’s interests
Make it extra special! Think about what your kids are really into at the moment. Both of my boys love trains and animals so I made sure to grab a Gingerbread Train Kit for each of them. I also picked up these adorable Kids’ Christmas Animal Mugs (set of four) for them to drink milk out of while we decorated.
10. Let go of perfection
One of the most common things we do is expect everything to be perfect. We expect the activity to run smoothly with no hiccups, we picture perfect Pinterest-worthy gingerbread houses displayed in lovely twinkling lights. But you know what folks? The quest for perfection adds too much stress. You want this activity to be fun! Allow your kids to decorate as they want and let them have fun, even if it means making a little bit of a mess. The messy bits are the memories that they’re going to remember, so have fun!
Now we’ll chat about displaying the houses! After you’re done, tell your kids what you love about the houses they made, and ask if they’d like to put them up on the mantel! So many families make the houses and then toss them days later, but they’re so cute you can use them as decor!
Lay down a sheet of fake snow from the craft store and begin putting up all of the creations! Use bottle brush trees in between the houses to create a village feel. We love these Retro Bottle Brush Trees and these larger Mica Bottle Brush Trees, both are great and really durable, too.
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Whimsical Gingerbread House Kit | Chalet Gingerbread House Kit | Alpine Gingerbread Village Kit | Gingerbread Train Kit | Manor Gingerbread House Kit | Mug Toppers | Kids’ Christmas Animal Mugs | Red, Green and White Twinkles Frosting