What’s not to like about this project? There’s candy, tchotchkes, plenty of laughs, some truly questionable but hilarious design choices … and none of the pesky work of baking, shaping and undergoing construction/architecture planning that you’ll find with traditional gingerbread houses.
Instead of trying to figure out which slab of cookie would make a good load-bearing wall or how to transform sugar and flour into dormer windows and gable overhangs, just chuck that pile of gingerbread into the trash (or your belly), grab a simple box and get going.
Candy houses are great to make with a large group, easy for small kids to manage and won’t crumble if somebody rings the gumdrop doorbell.
Construction couldn’t be easier:
- Start with plain old boxes, sealed closed.
- Ice them liberally with a simple, inexpensive royal icing (see details below).
- Top to your heart’s desire with tiny toys, candies, sprinkles, and assorted hoozits and whatnots – the more the better.
- Display with pride … but don’t eat them!
- Finish up with pizza and holiday movies.
I can’t put too fine a point on this: No need to censor yourself, kids. Want a shark in your house’s front lawn, under the watchful gaze of Santa (as my grandson Harlen, then 2, did two years ago)? Surf’s up, Santa. Want to pile on toy soldiers, enough Hershey kisses to feed a team of reindeer and a stray Barbie shoe? Jingle all the way, baby!
This is easy enough for toddlers to participate and feel proud of their creations, but I’ve seen preteens have just as much fun making candy houses.
For those of us who love the holidays but are not exactly crafty, candy houses are the perfect recipe.
What you’ll need:
- Empty boxes, 1 per builder, taped closed (shoebox, used Amazon delivery box, etc.)
- Royal icing such as this one (scale up amount according to number of builders)
- Assortment of festive candies, the more the better (holiday M&Ms, starlight peppermints, Hershey kisses, red and green sprinkles, etc.)
- Assortment of tiny toys and trinkets — no need to stick with holiday theme; instead, the sky’s the limit. Dollar stores are great places to scoop up these trinkets all year long.
- An appreciation for messy-but-fun crafting