Way back when, when I had a step daughter, we attempted to build a gingerbread house from a kit. I don't have pictures anymore, but lets just say it was less than successful. I was a little apprehensive about trying it again, and even considered buying a reusable Candy Cottage that you just decorate. However, I make elaborate cakes, so I figured I should give it another shot. However, for Xander's first gingerbread house, I decided to go with the easier method of using graham crackers. I even saved a milk carton from work to use as Xander's base (although mine is entirely graham cracker, thank-you-very-much).
We ended up using the following recipe, which I modified from the internet.
3 egg whites
4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
I put it in a frosting gun (similar to this one) for Xander. Then I set out various candies.
While I fully expected to build some fun memories, I hadn't realized what a great STEM activity it would be for him! He took his construction very seriously and ran into more than a few snags. He had to figure out what the problems were and how to solve them. For instance, he figured out that he couldn't put the M and Ms on the roof because they were too heavy. He had work out where he needed more frosting or he needed his graham cracker cut smaller. I really enjoyed listening to his thought process.
I should have known better than to ask for a smile when he was building. I ended up with this rushed smile...
We learned a few things for the next time, but we will definitely be doing this activity again next year!