If you have a kid whose birthday is during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you might want to do a gingerbread house-themed birthday party.
It doesn’t have to be hard to do or really expensive, but planning well will help to reduce the stress involved with decorating multiple gingerbread houses with little kids!
To host a gingerbread house birthday party, you’ll need to take the ages of the kids into account to decide what type of activities they can handle. Older kids may be able to do more on their own than younger kids, so the structured activities will need to be different for different age groups. Careful planning will prevent stress on your part, and will make the party go a lot smoother.
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Gingerbread party theme ideas.
There are a lot of ways to incorporate a gingerbread house theme into a party, from the invitations to the party decor. Doing some type of gingerbread decorating idea is a must, and houses are a good activity to include, as well as a good party favor for each guest to take home.
Starting before the party, start with gingerbread house-themed invitations from Etsy that are either printable or digital.
They’ll set the tone and let people in on the theme.
Some of these are printable, but some are digital, so you can send them by email or text. Edit them to enter your party details, then send them to your guests.
Being able to do things digitally is an added convenience that will make the whole process easier.
You can even get animated custom invitations like this one from Animation Invitations on Etsy (Click here to see it.)
There are also printable options for party decorations on Etsy that you can download and print at home.
You can get all of your party decorations ready in half an hour when you buy digital decorations and print them yourself.
This saves time and makes the whole process easy.
You can get party banners, signs for different activity stations, place cards, and thank-you notes.
If you have time to order ahead, you can get gingerbread-shaped balloons to go with the printables.
Gingerbread house decorating with kids.
When you have a gingerbread house decorating activity and a lot of kids to manage, it’s easiest to make the houses ahead of time. The more things that you can have ready, the less stressful it will be during the party. The most important part of gingerbread house decorating with kids to reduce stress is to adjust your expectations.
These are some things to keep in mind.
- If the kids are younger than 7 or 8 they’ll need more help with the icing, so you need to have more adults on hand. You might want to ask two or three of the parents to stick around to help out, but too many adults will make things more hectic.
- Make the houses ahead of time, and feel free to use graham crackers to make the houses instead of real gingerbread.
- Have some extra houses and supplies on hand in case someone drops off a younger sibling with the child who’s invited. This happens a lot, so don’t be surprised when some people think that the birthday party is basically free babysitting for them. Rude, but likely to happen these days.
- Put down disposable tablecloths to work on.
- Use sturdy paper plates to decorate the houses on so that they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and sent home with the kids as a party favor.
- Give each kid their own candy so that they don’t get all grabby with each other’s supplies. You can use cupcake liners or foil cupcake baking pans for this.
- Each kid can also have their own icing bag to use in order to keep grabbing at a minimum.
- Younger kids will probably have an easier time if you ice the roof and let them stick the candy on.
- The most important part of the whole process is to stand back, only help when someone asks for help or when you see a younger kid having trouble with icing or unwrapping candy, and let the kids decorate on their own. This isn’t an adult project, it’s the kid’s project, so don’t micromanage!
- DO NOT make this a contest! Let the kids have fun and not compete against each other.
The last thing is definitely the most difficult.
Especially if the kids are younger, they tend to lose interest and won’t decorate the entire house. Resist the urge to “finish” the house for them.
If you want to, you can wrap up their icing bag in plastic wrap and send it home with some extra candy for them to add to the house later, but that’s about as far as you should go.
Gingerbread-themed party games.
When you have a birthday party for kids, it’s good to let them all run around together at a few points so that it doesn’t feel too controlled. Alternating active and sit-down activities will give you a good balance.
- Start with letting the kids all play together as people are arriving. If you have an outdoor play area that’s a good place to do this, or designate an area in the house.
- Have a structured game next, like Pin The Button on the Gingerbread Man or Gingerbread Bingo for older kids.
- Do the gingerbread house decorating next, and make sure to write each kid’s name on the plate that holds their house.
- When the houses are finished, have the cake cutting and presents (if you do that during the party.)
- After the cake cutting, let the kids play by themselves like maniacs to let off the candy and cake energy. Wrap the houses up while this is going on, or designate another adult to do it. If you’ve written the kids’ names on the plates the houses are on they’ll be able to easily identify which one they should take home.
- To wrap the party up, have the kids lie on brown butcher paper, trace around them, then let them decorate their own outlines like gingerbread men. Tell older kids to make themselves look as crazy as they can. They can do this until they get picked up, or if they finish early they can just play again.
- Bonus: If you have a willing victim, you can have an adult (preferably someone’s father) dress up like a gingerbread man, be a moving target, and let the kids throw wet sponges at him. This is obviously an outdoor activity, but it was the hit of the party when my son was about 8 and his father got pelted with sponges. Bonus points if the sponges are cut into gingerbread man shapes.
If you keep the games and activities relatively simple, a gingerbread house birthday party can be pretty easy to pull off, and the only real “work” you’ll have to do during the party is coordinating the flow of activities. Planning everything ahead is the key to a stress-free birthday party.
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