Hansel and Gretel Gingerbread Houses
Listen to a reading of the classic folktale Hansel and Gretel, then recreate the wicked witch's house in the forest by decorating a gingerbread house with candy.
I found gingerbread houses at Ollie's for 90% off (!!) so I got all that they had (that weren't already broken). It was enough to fill up a Mini Cooper and made a great air freshener. We kicked around some ideas (summer beach house gingerbread houses, 4th of July patriotic gingerbread houses) until one of our children's librarians had the brilliant thought, "Why not just do Hansel and Gretel?" So that's what we did.
We had licorice, Mike & Ike, Rainbow Sour Belts, M&Ms, spice drops, giant Smarties, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, mini marshmallows (left over from our Valentine's Day Hot Cocoa Bomb kits), lollipops, and pretzel rods.
We put the candy in condiment containers with lids. This was definitely more waste/expense but it was great in that we could prep a day or two beforehand and also felt more sanitary. The licorice and pretzel rods, however, wouldn't fit with a lid.
I left the packaging on and let participants open their own. While the story was being read, I brought out bowls of icing to each table. I used the same icing recipe I always do, because it dries nice and hard.
We set the tables up around our Story Time rug, and sat there to read the story. Once the story ended, kids could run back to their tables and get started. We played Kidz Bop while they worked.
I also pulled out our lollipop and cupcake cutouts from our Life Size Candy Land program, which made for a great photo prop. Here I am with my nieces and nephews that came!