*This post was sponsored by Big Dot of Happiness, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
We had a blast frosting mounds of candy onto our gingerbread houses this weekend. I had 8 seven-year-olds over and I’m here to share with you all the tips, tricks and goods (and some free printables) so you can rock your own Gingerbread House Party. All the inspiration came from the fun Gingerbread Party themed items sent to me from Big Dot of Happiness. I’ll link all the items I used in a shopping list at the end so you can recreate the magic! But first let’s cover some Gingerbread Party 101 basics.
Gingerbread Party Decorations
The decorations were a breeze with all the adorable stuff from Big Dot of Happiness. It was so fun and easy to throw it all together in a magical tablescape that made the kids’ eyes bug out when they saw it! I’ll share some highlights with you and hopefully give you a few creative ideas on how you can use these fun party items.
How cute is this little guy? We had them spread all over the table. And I have to admit, I was feeling pretty proud of my idea to stand him up via gum drops. Just make some slits with a knife and stick his little legs in. (It helps to spray the knife with some cooking spray since the gum drops are so sticky inside). He came as part of the garland kit.
Isn’t this guy fun? The centerpiece package came with several gingerbread men and houses. I stuck a few of them in jars with peppermints. (You’ll see later what I did with what was left) The party items came with everything I needed including the wooden sticks and glue dots. To add texture to the table I used some fake snow. Well, to be truthful, it’s actually pillow stuffing, but I had some snow glitter that I added to it ;). Shop your house first, that’s my motto.
This was another piece from the centerpiece package, again I stuck it in a jar with peppermints and surrounded it with some fake snow.
The gable boxes added a lot to the table. And they ended up being perfect for the kids to take some treats home in. After they had a few pieces of candy I cut them off 😉 and told them at the end they could fill their boxes to take home. Then mom could regulate how much and how often for the sugar. And adding their names with my cricut worked out perfectly. It went on so easily onto the laminated surface and I think it looks meant to be on that part of the box! I used this free gingerbread font.
The garland kit came with the little clothespins and the string to hang it! I hung it over the table where the kids were going to be making their houses. There was plenty left over to use for decoration on the table as well. Finally I sprinkled peppermints around the table that I had added the cute gingerbread candy stickers to. It had a nice confetti effect. See if you can spot them in the photos!
Gingerbread House Tips
Now that we’ve got things decorated, let’s talk about the “gingerbread” houses. Make the houses ahead of time. Trust me. I’m gonna venture to say unless you’re working with teens or adults (even maybe then) you should just pre make the houses! It can just be too frustrating and time consuming. I made them out of graham crackers because they are WAY cheaper than the kits and WAY easier than real homemade gingerbread. Here are some tips if you’re making them out of graham crackers:
- Use hot glue. Yup. Even I didn’t have the patience for icing. I did cover the hot glue with some icing at the end to make it a little less obvious.
- Use a serrated knife to make your cuts. Don’t just bend the cracker and hope it will make a clean break. Use a serrated knife to gently saw back and forth along the break lines. If you have one that doesn’t break clean you can clean it up with the knife as well.
- You’ll want to count on about one sleeve per house. That is if you assume a certain number of them will already be in pieces and you’ll mess up another certain number, haha. A safe bet is a sleeve per house. You’ll have extras. Probably.
- You’ll use 4 squares for the base, 2 for the roof, and then you’ll have to cut 2 triangles to finish off the roof. I used the serrated knife for that as well. (It usually took a couple tries for each triangle because they kept cracking)
- To finish it off I hot glued the house to the plate. Cake rounds are also great for this.
- As a finishing touch you can frost over the hot glue seams if you want it to look more authentic.
Gingerbread Icing Tips
Ok, we’re on to the icing! I suggest making a royal icing out of meringue powder and confectioners sugar and then piping it into squeeze bottles. It was so, so, so, so much less messy than passing around piping bags. And easier for the kids to manage and use. You’ll want to use a royal icing because it sets up harder and faster than a typical buttercream. I used about 4 cups powdered sugar to 3 tablespoons meringue powder. (You can find the meringue powder near all the wilton/cake items at walmart or the grocery store). Then you just add water (about 10 tablespoons). Beat it until it is the thickness you like. The longer you beat it, the thicker it will get. You won’t need to fill the squeeze bottles all the way to the top. I did and and now we have SO much left over. But it is nice if each child can have their own bottle.
Gingerbread Candy Tips
A fun and easy way to put the candy out is in muffin tins. You can separate all the different candies into their own tins and its an easy way for the kids to quickly see their options and get what they want. I used two tins, one for each side of the table. Then we had some taller things that I stuck in mason jars. Here are some candy ideas:
- peach rings
- Hershey kisses
- twizzler ropes
- candy canes/peppermint sticks
- gum drops
- life savers
- colored chocolate chips
It helps to unwrap and unpackage as much of the candy ahead of time as possible. Otherwise you’ll just end up with garbage strewn about everywhere and it just helps things run more smoothly. I did leave some items wrapped like the candy canes and the Hershey kisses.
Gingerbread House Judging
It’s fun to just let the kids be creative and do their thing. But sometimes they need a little incentive. I had mostly rowdy boys over so I figured a little “contest” on the line would probably help them really take it seriously. I let them know there would be awards at the end and for most of them it worked and they really got into it. I used these centerpieces from Big Dot of Happiness as Awards and placed them near the houses once the kids were finished. They got to take them home at the end. I used: Most Creative, Show Stopper, Best Constructed, Most Detailed, Most Thoughtful, Best Theme, Most Colorful & Most Resourceful. This way everyone went home with an award.
Gingerbread Party Activities
Once the kids got tuckered out from all the sugar and decorating, I wrangled them for a game of Elf Bingo. It’s kind of a fun, not exactly your typical, bingo game I put together for our party. (And a free printable for you!). You could call it Bingo Extreme. Or Bingo meets Where’s Waldo. We used peppermints with the fun candy stickers from Big Dot of Happiness on them as our markers.
The kids also had fun with the Gingerbread Party Photo Props from Big Dot of Happiness. They got a bit silly with them (sugar high) and I tried to capture it.
- Big Dot of Happiness gingerbread garland kit
- Big Dot of Happiness gingerbread centerpiece kit
- Big Dot of Happiness gingerbread photo props
- Big Dot of Happiness candy stickers
- Big Dot of Happiness Gingerbread house boxes
- Candy for decorating
- Meringue powder (next three items can all be found the in the cake decorating isle in walmart or a craft store)
- squeeze bottles
- Cake rounds
- graham crackers
- You can check out the rest of their gingerbread party line here!
I hope this makes things a bit easier for you to throw your own Gingerbread House Decorating Party! It will make for some great memories for your kiddos, way to go mama!