Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fun Christmas Activity - Milk Carton Graham Cracker Houses

One of the favorite Holiday activities over the years has been Gingerbread houses.  They are lots of fun to make and the making is tasty too!

We have done one large house that goes home with one student at Christmas time, or individual houses.  Of course the individual houses are the most popular, but it depends on your budget and your ability to be okay with a big mess and lots of sticky fingers!!  :-)

Little "Gingerbread" Houses

  • Save milk cartons and clean them out so that you have enough for every child.
    • Keep a few extras because more kids always seem to show up on a day when you are doing a big project.
  • Enough Graham Crackers for each student to have 6 pieces to cover all surfaces.
  • Royal Icing, the kind that hardens.  You can use regular containers of frosting you buy at the grocery store, and add powdered sugar to stiffen it.  If you do that you have to glue the the graham crackers because they won't stick.  Hot glue works well but they won't be edible.  Kids mostly want to eat the candy anyway.
  • Miscellaneous candies to add to their house.
    • You can also be creative with snack left overs.  Raisins, nuts, carrot sticks, thinly cut celery pieces and more, work for add ons.
    • If you are working on a tight budget, ask parents to bring in a candy add on.  $2 per parent isn't too much to ask.
      • Give them a list of acceptable candies. 
  • A paper plate for each student.
  • A boat or bowl for their candies.
    • You know they will eat some and put some on, so give them individual pieces to avoid extra germs.
       The grown up part
  • Clean single size milk cartons well to avoid sour milk smell.
  • Glue or staple the top together.
  • Glue, or use royal icing, to adhere the graham crackers to the milk carton.  Squares of graham crackers fit the sides of a milk carton perfectly!
  • Use frosting to cover the milk carton at the edges.
  • The fold sides are a little trickier.  Either cut graham crackers to fit over them or add candies and frosting to hide the writing.
       The kids part
  • Give kids a clump of frosting, a plastic knife, and an assortment of candies and let them go!
  • It might also be a good idea to keep napkins or hand wipes to keep the mess in one area.
  • Cover the table in a long plastic cover from the Dollar Store.  That way you don't have to spend lots of time an effort cleaning up after this huge mess.  Just fold it up and throw it away.
    • I don't usually advocate throwing a large amount of plastic away, but the stickiness of this project is a big clean up and it still seems to be sticky the next time you try to use it!

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