December 12, 2015

Lessons in Gingerbread House Construction

Gingerbread House Lessons

Saturday, Dec. 12 is National Gingerbread House Day, a national celebration paying homage to the tasty brown sugar-molasses-cinnamon-ginger treat, whose sturdy composition makes for great gingerbread house-building. It is believed the original idea for a gingerbread house came from the tale of Hansel and Gretel, who were lured into a fictional forest by a witch whose house was constructed of cake and confectionery.

The idea of building gingerbread houses is so popular now, you can even find gingerbread house-building kits to take the guesswork (and work-work) out of building, icing and decorating. Even spin-off gingerbread constructions have popped up including kits for gingerbread trains and also sleighs.

Kiddie Academy’s curriculum highlights the importance of teachable moments, and the holiday for this spicy-sweet treat is a great opportunity to get in the kitchen with kids and learn. Grab a gingerbread kit and try your hand at gingerbread construction. As anyone who has held two gingerbread walls (or roofs) up with icing as the only adhesive knows, gingerbread construction takes a lot of patience!

Talk to your kids about perseverance with the process and not giving up if a wall falls down or a roof slides off the top of your gingerbread house. If a kit’s instructions (or traditional “house” architecture of sloped roofing) is not successfully standing, work with your kids to create a new design (perhaps a “hut” style with flat roofing, or a single-story tee-pee). Above all, convey the importance of not giving up if the first attempt happens to not work out, as gingerbread – while delicious – can sometimes be unpredictable building material. At the end, let your children exercise their own creativity and decorate the house, hut, tee-pee, train, sleigh or other gingerbread construction how their imaginations inspire them to.

Last but not least, this holiday is about the fun of building gingerbread houses, but also about the fun in eating them. It’s okay to snack along the way to fuel the building as well. If you feel inspired to make your own gingerbread house, here is a recipe from the Food Network, complete with wall measurement templates!

Happy building!

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