Did you read that title twice?
When you mention the word HISTORY to your kids…do their eyes glaze over? Are you looking for activities to entertain them at home? What about combining historical events, STEM (via baking skills), hand-eye coordination, creativity, and learning? How is this possible you may ask?
We love ancient history. We both took the class in high school. Chariots, archers on horseback, moats, archeology, ancient languages…hidden treasure!
But, we realize that not all kids are so interested in history. So, we had a bunch over and involved them in the retelling of a historic event…and it was a huge success. Build a historical city with gingerbread and then destroy it (maybe even how it actually happened in the past). And what kid will say no to eating the delicious ruins?!
Then sent the hyped-up sugared kids home to their parents. And clean up. Our floors needed a few washes (edible glitter…yep, gets everywhere), but, it was fun!
We decided on the ancient city of Babylon. We took the kids through a brief journey of its history while they constructed it, and then through the fateful night when it fell to the Medes and the Persians (they loved this part). Honestly, the kids had a blast, and afterward, parents told us they were definitely more interested in history!
At the bottom of this page, there are separate lists and instructions per item, and one list with all ingredients on a complete shopping list.
The free recipe is below, using meringue powder instead of raw eggs. An example of meringue powder is a well-known brand Wilton
Decorating Icing dries non-tacky (Crusting Buttercream, free recipe below in Resources)
Gingerbread Construction Cookie Recipe (Note: this isn’t the same as a normal cookie recipe. Free recipe below in Resources)
Depending on the scale, make a single batch, double it – or be unwise like us and make cookie dough until you can’t take it anymore. This level of cookie dough making may make it into your dreams…
Thickness Guide & Rolling Pin: These rolling pin thickness sets are pretty handy to help you learn how to roll even thicknesses (and correct thicknesses!)
City Plan (or free shapes. See the guide below in Resources)
You can easily cut your own, or you can buy a cookie-cutter kit and just use the pieces you prefer.
Squeeze bottles will make things much easier for construction, so try a squeeze bottle for the Cement Icing (Royal Icing). Different bottle sizes are helpful if making small batch colors for cookies too (to use with buttercream icing for example).
Piping bags with different tips make decorating more fun, so you could buy a piping bag to use with the Decorating Icing (Crusting Buttercream).
Mini gingerbread people cookie cutters for the action figures. This one comes with three sizes.
Parchment paper, for example, this one from If You Care (silicone coated)
Decorations (see suggestion list in Resources)
Food dye if you desire
A Regular Gingerbread Cookie Recipe is Too Soft
Chill the Dough Before Rolling
Rolling the Dough
Setting Before Decorating
Icing and Decorating
If your kids really want to go all out, use tinfoil to make crowns and armor or whatever historical items are associated with your gingerbread event, as seen in the photos above.
Or, even more involved, you can make masks, armor, helmets out of paper Mache.
For more information see Paper Mache Masks & Creatures
Here are some free downloads for you to help you with your project!
The recipes are kid-friendly, meaning there are pictures and some basic baking tips to learn. However, we still recommend adult supervision.
The Big Sis