During the busy Christmas season, parents want to create lasting memories with their children, without investing too much time or money. Baking and decorating a gingerbread house is a fun tradition that can be enjoyed year after year.
However, baking, constructing and decorating a homemade gingerbread house is time-consuming and daunting when you have toddlers. So forget the whole-day baking event, and keep the activity simple and enjoyable for young kids. The following is how to make easy no-bake gingerbread houses – that even toddlers can do:
Use graham crackers for the walls of the ‘gingerbread house’
This no-bake tip feels like cheating, but it’s worth saving the hours it takes to bake a homemade version. Purchase a box of graham crackers (original or cinnamon), and use each large cracker to be a wall of the ‘gingerbread house.’ Simply use frosting in the corners to hold the walls in place. This tip alone will save so much time and effort (And if your toddler accidentally breaks a wall, you won’t have to go through the trouble of baking new ones!) Tip: Be sure to build your four surrounding house walls first, and let the frosting dry before you add the roof.
Use white frosting for snow
Let your toddler help out with some easy decorating on the gingerbread house by adding white snow, in the form of vanilla frosting. Show your toddler how to gently touch the house so that it doesn’t fall apart, and let them dig their hands in the frosting and stick it onto and around the house. It will most likely look like a blizzard attacked part of the house (and missed other spots).
Have an assortment of small candies for decorating
Choose a few small colorful candies that toddlers can use, such as M&Ms, Skittles or Reese’s Pieces, to stick onto the frosting for easy decoration. Show them how to pick up a piece and place it on the sticky icing and push in for it to stay in place. Mini-marshmallows could be used for snowmen on the ground, and chocolate chips could be used for other decoration.
Obviously, a gingerbread house made by a toddler isn’t going to be neat, but that isn’t the point. When you take the time to create these Christmas traditions with your young children, it is the memories that will last, long after the gingerbread house is gone. Be sure to take lots of pictures, so that you can always look back and enjoy your toddlers and their food creations.
If you’re uninterested in a no-bake gingerbread house recipe and want to try building and decorating an actual homemade version, take a look at the Children’s Gingerbread House recipe at AllRecipes.