Ages: 18 months and up
Forget exorbitant gingerbread real estate. We've scaled back the usual candy-covered mansion to something a little more humble: a make-and-eat cottage built from graham crackers, lightly sweetened cream cheese, and nutritious decorations.
Toddlers will be free-form with their decorating techniques, but older siblings may want to try the following tips and techniques:
Use a wooden spoon to blend the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl until the mixture is creamy. Spoon the frosting into a ziplock bag, then use scissors to snip off a tiny corner of the plastic.
To assemble the cottage, first pipe a line of frosting along one edge of a graham cracker square and stick it to a plate to make a wall. Add three more walls, piping lines of frosting on three sides of each square to attach it to the plate and the cracker next to it. Use two more squares to form a peaked roof, attaching them to the cottage and each other with frosting.
Now squeeze lines of frosting all over the walls and roof -- let an older tot do this herself -- and show your child how to gently press on the decorations. When she's done decorating, she can devour her treat.