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By Hilary Gresham — D&T teacher in Buxton, Derbyshire

Making a gingerbread cottage

You will need

Butter icing (made with one part butter or margarine to two parts sieved icing sugar); food colouring; blocks of Jamaica ginger cake (one for each group of four children); cake boards; sweets and biscuits; card; felt-tipped pens; scissors; glue; camera.

gingerbread cottage image

What to do

Decide before the lesson whether you are going to assemble the houses for the children to decorate or let them do it themselves. To make the house, cut a block of cake in half and sandwich the two halves together with icing. Shape the top half into a pyramid with a sharp knife, then cover the whole cake with more icing. Children should work in the same groups as for the previous activity with two children working on their cake at a time. Ask them to use their notes and diagrams to decorate their side of the cake with their chosen design. The other two children can make cardboard trees and characters to complete their house scenes. To make stands, fold a strip of card into four and stick the two end sections together to make a triangle.

When the houses are complete, arrange the trees and characters and photograph each group with their scene. Keep the cakes in tins overnight and look at them again the following day. Encourage the children to evaluate their work. Scribe their comments and display them with the photos and designs. Cut the cakes into quarters for the children to take home.


Make house-shaped biscuits with the children. Encourage them to decorate their biscuits with sweets to represent building features.