I decided to have the girls make gingerbread houses for our activity today. I looked at the store to try to find some cookies we could use, but could only find round. I can't find molasses for sale here in China, so I searched around and found a recipe that doesn't use molasses. So I mixed up the dough, and planned to cook it today for them to use. But when I went to roll it out, it was too crumbly. It was very difficult to work with, and I could see that there wouldn't be enough anyway. So I ran to a nearby little store and was able to find some rectangle cookies for them to use.
I'm not sure I made the royal icing correctly, but I read another tip online about using a different "sugar glue" to attach the house pieces together. Basically you just heat some sugar in a pan until it melts, and then just paint it on like glue. It dries rock hard. And if it hardens on you while you are using it, you can just put the pan back on the stove and melt it again. This worked really well, and I highly recommend it!
I had to laugh when the youngest girl was trying to make the cookies a particular shape. If she needed a triangle, she would just take a few bites out of the corners of the cookies. :) She also found that when she worked with the sugar, it tended to make sugar strings quite easily. There were sugar strings all over the place! She enjoyed cleaning those up.....with her mouth.... :)
Here are a few pictures of them working.