Tween Night: Gingerbread Village

It’s time to get festive! December’s program invited tweens to the library to craft gingerbread houses!

Set up & Supplies:

This program required a trip to a bulk store! I was on the hunt for graham crackers, white icing, and extra candy to embellish their structures. I already had animal crackers, marshmallows, and Trix that were left over from previous programs. I ended up leaving with goodies like red vines, mints, gummy bears, and fudge striped cookies. Items I also needed but already had were plates, cups, plastic knives, and table cloths.

As for set up, I had a main supply table. This table housed the candies and the icing. Can I just say that bulk icing is both weirdly gross and exciting? When you open the tub, it seems to instantly fill the air with sugar. I decided to put the icing in a large bowl, so kids could spoon out how much they would like. Any leftover icing I had was to be passed on to the Teen department, so this was my way of keeping little hands out of the original container as well.

The rest of the space was filled with tables to serve as work space. This is where I placed the plates and graham crackers, so the kids didn’t have to make extra trips for these. And, as usual, I had some music playing in the background.

Time to Build:

As the tweens arrived, a line formed. A big line. I never expected so many people! Everyone was given a cup and a small plate. The plate was for icing, and the cup was for their choice of decorations. Once they had their selections, they could find a place to start building!

Talk about a sugar rush! There was icing and candy everywhere, and the kids were so excited! My biggest role during this time was refilling the icing bowl and cleaning up messes as they happened.

I found it so wonderful that they all created something different and unique. There were one and two story houses. There were collapses. Some houses had gummy bear residents. There was one that was a car instead of a house.

It was a great time!

Once they were done constructing, the tweens were invited to leave their creations to be put on display at the library. We had about a dozen who volunteered their projects. It seemed to me that most went home with plans to eat their houses.

What I learned:

A few lessons were learned this night. I am now a believer in the cup method. Sometimes it’s a struggle when the tweens are free to grab project supplies. Giving them a cup limit helped reduce over taking and stretched out our supplies. I’m also so glad we did this due to the unexpected turn out. Our total number was 80!

Another lesson that I learned was that icing gets EVERYWHERE. My coworker and I spent an hour after the program cleaning it up. It had been ground into the carpet. I think tarps or some kind of carpet protection is a must-have moving forward.

I thoroughly enjoyed this program, and I know the tweens did as well. What a good feeling to leave work with! This might be a repeat holiday program in the future!