Every year, we get a few gingerbread house kits to make as a small group project. I ask parents to come in and help. I have some really awesome parents who seem to be up for any challenge I've thrown them---bless their hearts! The kits came in right before the Thanksgiving break and have been sitting on the counter and the kids have asked several times each day WHEN are ever going to get to make them? We counted down the days and FINALLY the day arrived.
I've done gingerbread houses in the classroom for several years, and every year it's gotten a little smoother. The first few years, I had one kit and tried various methods to make sure everyone got to be part of all the stages. For the last couple of years, I've had two kits and worked in smaller groups. Last year, I invited a couple of parents to come and help. (I'll admit having parent helpers was brilliant!) We put all the pieces together and glued them with frosting. We decorated and iced to our hearts content. At the very end, the pieces kept sliding off with the weight of the candy. One of the moms had to hold the pieces and try to prop them up until she could eventually let go. They were definitely an adventure!
This year, I asked several parents to help this year and we were fortunate enough to get 4 kits, which meant only 5 kids per group. I was secretly patting myself on the back for such great planning as I passed them out to each table when a true Christmas (or Hanukkah, if you prefer) miracle occurred. We opened them up and they were already put together, just waiting to be decorated! Let the fun begin!
Since we had enough helpers, I was able to roam freely between the groups and hear all the exciting chatter!
The kits came complete with candy, but I had some leftover candy that I wanted to use up, so we added some of that.
We had a few leftover gingerbread men, so we added them, as well.
We found some lollipops to add. Two of the groups added them right side up as trees or decorations. Two groups placed them upside down, one is an antennae and on the other, the lollipops are a chimney. The finished products:
I have been teaching early childhood for about 20 years. I love what I do---it's the best job in the world!!! Where else can you go to work each day and do art, play games, have snack and get hugs regularly AND get paid for it?! I love to share ideas with other teachers and see what they are doing in their classrooms. Teaching is the best profession---we love to share!