Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gingerbread House Program

Image Courtesy Openclipart.org
It's almost time for one of my favorite kids' library programs: gingerbread house making! Lots of libraries have this program, here's the simple way we do ours: 

Registration is required for crowd control and supply purchasing needs. Due to demand, this year we are offering two sessions on the Saturday before Christmas. One at 11 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. For space reasons, we are limiting the sessions to 20 kids, generally that will give us another 10 parents we have to squeeze in as well. We do not have a separate program room at my library, so there will be random patrons about as well. 

The kids put a layer of frosting on the carton, then the graham cracker, then more frosting for the sprinkles, etc. They can use as much candy as they want. We play holiday music at the same time.

Supply List: 
  • Frosting (I recommend 1 can for every 3-4 kids, some kids are very conservative and others are less judicious about their frosting application.)
  • Graham Crackers (1 box for every table averages out about right. By more then you think you'll need to account for broken pieces.) 
  • Assorted Candy
  • Pretzels in various shapes (rods for the roof, different shapes for windows and doors)
  • Sprinkles
  • Plastic knives
  • Plates (used as a base) or sub paper towels. 
  • Milk cartons (obtained from the local school district, who sends them through the industrial dishwasher for us. Then I staple them closed.) 
You can also read some Gingerbread stories before the kids get to work but I don't bother because we don't have enough room and I can't compete with candy for their attention. 

This is probably the most expensive program we do all year (except maybe our Carnival), but the most fun too. And very little work for us (besides cleaning up afterward, which is a disaster)! We also do a puppet show over winter break, so most of my programming energies go into that.

3 comments:

Anne,
Where do you get your milk cartons? We do this every year as well, but recently have begun trying to source unused cartons for health reasons and have had trouble finding them. Do you just use used ones?

Thanks,
Jessica

Jessica, we just use used ones. The school sends them through their industrial dishwasher. Those things get pretty hot so we haven't had any complaints about health concerns.

I wonder if you could just buy milk cartons and have the kids drink them at the program while you read a story? Another option would be cardboard (pattern here: http://laythetable.com/snacks/miniature-gingerbread-houses/)

Yup, we do ours the same way and the families LOVE IT. Last year we had to use an additional meeting room as an "overflow room", something we're going to continue to do this year. We solicit donations from the community to help fund this program. One of our local grocery stores that has a bakery donates frosting for us and some other grocery stores typically give us a gift certificate which we use to buy some of the candy and supplies.