kit

Making a Christmas Gingerbread house

Yes, it is July but why should that stop us making a gingerbread house?

Our completed Gingerbread House!

I actually have had this kit for a while as we just didn’t get time to try it before Christmas and it seemed like a good way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon with my children. I have to say that the icing was a little stiff and difficult to manipulate but I am assuming it is because the kit was sitting around for so long.

Although there has been some debate about whether the house can be eaten now or if it must wait until Christmas Day… Do you have a tradition about when to eat gingerbread houses?

Gingerbread house kit

I know you can make a house from scratch, and there are dough cutter sets in appropriate shapes, but we used a kit this time to keep it fun and simple – and to learn some techniques!

This kit had everything we needed except for a tray to work on and scissors to cut the bags open, so it is definitely quick and easy to get going on the house.

Inside and outside of the gingerbread house kit

The gingerbread house kit we used.

Decorating the house

Most of the decorating happens before putting the actual house together. This is much easier as the pieces can lie flat on a tray or board as you work – and are much easier for little fingers to access.

In some instances, the kids tried to mimic the instructions exactly, and then other bits they were more creative over (like adding a back door on a side panel).

COllage of images where children's hands are putting icing onto the gingerbread pieces

The kids loved decorating the house…

Constructing the gingerbread house

I did most of the work constructing the house as it takes a little coordination and patience to hold the pieces in place as the icing dries enough to hold them together. Having said that, only adding the roof was particularly tricky and it didn’t take very long to constructs our Christmas Gingerbread House 🙂

Collage os photos showing stages of the gingerbread house being put together

Constructing the house didn’t take long…

Once the house was standing, some additional lollies and candy canes were arranged as well.

The results…

We ended up with a cute Christmas house which the kids were very proud of. They also enjoyed the consumption of the house over time, too!

In the packet, the amount of icing and lollies provided looked pretty good. But I think there were too many lollies for the size of the house in the end. Once the candy canes and other large lollies were added, it seemed a bit overdone to my eye.

back wall of the decorated gingerbread house

The back wall was decorated simply.

Other gingerbread house ideas

If you like the look of a gingerbread house or want to make one without feeling you have to eat them all, here are some other gingerbread house ideas to try:

images of the completed Christmas gingerbread house

Making Christmas masks

I recently had a short time with my daughter when we had nothing planned so we pulled out a Christmas craft set and enjoyed making some masks.

A packet for making two Christmas masks

The Christmas mask set (from Kmart although the packaging doesn’t show it)

The kit was complete  – most of the decorations were foam stickers so no glue was required and allowed us to make both masks quite quickly.

COntents of the Christmas mask set

We decided to make the Santa mask first – and I’ll do a separate blog post for the reindeer mask.

They are very simple to make – start with the biggest pieces, peel off the backing paper, align it on the mask and stick it down. Depending on the child’s fine motor skills, the aligning part may be challenging and need some assistance – while things not being perfect is fine for kids’ craft, any sticky bits that are not attached will remain sticky and be a magnet for dust and fluff!

Child's hands peeling the bakcing of Santa's hat to make a mask

Child sticking a beard otno a foam santa mask

Adding Santa’s beard took precision to get it straight

The pom pom on Santa’s hat is the hardest part – there are many little bits of foam to remove and then aligning all the lines takes some skill. I would expect adult help is needed with this for most kids under 10.

images of the pompom on Santa's hat

The pompom on Santa’s hat requires fine motor skills to create

Then tie on the elastic and you have a mask to wear straight away – no need to wait for glue to dry! Note to add the elastic, poke it through the holes from the front and tie it behind the beard so when it is word, you can’t see the knots and there is less force on the edges of the holes.

Foam Santa mask over a girl's face

ta da! My daughter proudly wearing her Santa mask

Once the mask is finished, there is a reasonable bit of foam left over – certainly enough to keep my daughter happy with additional stickers to make something else with!

Completeed Santa mask with the left over foam pieces

Do you like our fun Santa mask?

It’s a quick and easy kit to have in the cupboard to pull out when you need some brief entertainment – or if you need a quick costume for a Christmas party!

If you can’t find the kit to buy, you could just buy a sheet of foam to cut out the face and then some adhesive foam to cut out the beard, hat, etc – but you may want to find a pattern for that if your drawing skills are anything like mine!

 

* I purchased this set and receive no rewards (money or otherwise) for reviewing this kit – I have no contractual or business arrangements with Kmart.

Making cute Santas

a craft kit of Santas

The Jolly & Joy Christmas Santa craft kit

A paper Santa made by a 6 year old
I made some Santas with my kids recently from a kit I had grabbed, so I thought I’d share the results as a review for anyone else thinking of getting this kit.

Jolly & Joy Santa kit

I actually got this kit a while ago so I can’t remember the price but I don’t think it was particularly expensive as I got it as a back up activity to do with the kids.

The kit

Laid out contents of the paper Santa kit

Kit contents plus scissors

The materials to make six Santas were in a simple plastic bag. Most things were counted exactly (eg there were 36 ‘diamonds’ for Santa’s belt) or are cut from larger pieces of paper (we used less than half a sheet of each colour). Note we just got little jewels whereas the packet mentions holographs.

Making the Santas

I helped a four year old and two six year olds make these Santas, so adjust my comments as need be to suit the children you have.

Craft glue

Young fingers squeezing a tube of glueMy biggest complaint is the glue. One little tube was included in the kit.

One tube of glue for three kids meant a lot of waiting and stretched patience – in the end, the older two went and played until the four year old had finished with the glue. Which was admirable of them and made helping easier!

In addition, there was not enough glue in the tube to finish three Santas, let alone the six the kit promises. I had more craft glue but if you were relying on the kit to be complete, it would be a problem.

Figure it out for yourself

The kit did not come with instructions or even an image of the individual pieces. Overall, it’s not something you need instructions for – but kids doing it alone would need help.

I realised that the belt, boots, mittens, nose, mouth and face all had to be cut out of the provided paper. I had to use the Santa cut out as a sort of template to cut out the shapes which was a bit too tricky for the kids.

The actual creation

Child's fingers gluing a pompom onto SantaGluing the pieces onto Santa was fun and easy enough. It kept the kids happy for quite a while and they were very proud of their results – I think they did a good job, too.

Yes, a bit of glue was all over their fingers and they had trouble gluing on the pom poms (because they stuck to their glue fingers better than the cardboard!) but that’s all part of children’s craft work.

The verdict?

Despite a couple of disappointments, these were fun to make and we ended up with some very cute Santas. We attached them to the wall above each child’s bed where they looked really nice.

Certainly a nicer result than making these from scratch and the kit would suit a fairly wide range of age groups. So I’d say they’re worth a look if you want a Christmas craft idea or some Santas to decorate with.

If you’ve used one of these kits, or go on to use one, what do you think of them? Would you consider getting another one?
three Santas made by children

Share your Christmas story
Instagram