What a great Christmas Day or Christmas Eve activity for children of all ages! These mini gingerbread houses are perfect to keep everyone entertained at a family gathering. We actually did these on Thanksgiving Day after dinner and the kids all had a blast! My grandmother "hosted" the decorating party for all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Here are some of the creations we made:
It's best to assemble the little houses before the kids arrive - preferably the day before you'll decorate. Once they are assembled and the royal icing is dry, you can store them in food storage bags until you're ready to decorate. Here's a video that shows how easy it is to assemble the houses.
Next, get the icing and candy decorations ready.
Use this easy Royal Icing Recipe (or the one from my Snowman Christmas Cookies). Make extra Royal Icing to be used in the decorating process too - just cover the icing with plastic wrap and keep in a sealed bowl in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Next collect a wide variety of candy decorations (check the bulk-food bins at the grocery store):
Christmas Hard Candy
Chocolate Andes Mints
Santa shaped Chocolates
Mini Candy Canes
Any other candy that looks like it could become construction material.... be creative.
Pour all the candies and decorating pieces into bowls or on paper plates and line them up down the center of the table for all to reach easily. Pass out plastic knives for spreading the icing on the houses. You can decorate the houses on a paper plate like we did, or get more creative and let the kids create their "yard" on top of tiled graham crackers.
Your finished Gingerbread House should be set aside for at least 1 hour to let the royal icing set and harden. It can sit out as decoration throughout the holiday or you can eat it right away. Jacob decided he was going to devour his house as soon as it was fully decorated.
The kids had so much fun! And grandma has a great time decorating her house too -- and watching the grandchildren enjoy the festivities was a great bonus!