Sunday, December 21, 2014

Graham Cracker Houses - Making Memories and STEM skills

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...  

Xander's Creation 
Mommy's House 
We learned a few things for the next time, but we will definitely be doing this activity again next year!

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