FEATURES The Vinton Messenger

Children build gingerbread houses at public library

 VINTON–Children’s library assistant, Emily Metrock, and juvenile library assistant, Di Gagnier, kept a group of elementary school children completely focused on a task in spite of the presence of mountains of vanilla frosting and candies Monday afternoon at the Vinton library. Most of the children had spent the day in public school classes, but this was something different. They were at the library for a class on Gingerbread House building.

Twenty-five children in kindergarten through third grade signed up for the activity, which took place at Vinton’s public library on December 12. Some brought younger and older brothers and sisters to participate, and parents to assist.

Metrock spent Sunday evening measuring, drawing, and cutting out cardboard frames. She and Gagnier taped the frames into 3D houses during the day on Monday in preparation for the 4:00 class. When the children arrived, the assembled houses had been arranged on tables throughout the library meeting room, along with all the extra ingredients needed to turn them into Christmas decorations for their families.

Vinton Children's Library Assistant Emily Metrock explains the gingerbread house building process to students
Vinton Children's Library Assistant Emily Metrock explains the gingerbread house building process to students

Metrock asked the children to think about what they wanted their finished gingerbread houses to look like before they got started. She explained the construction process. They were to plaster the cardboard walls with frosting so that graham crackers would adhere to the surface. After the graham crackers were firmly attached, the decorating began. The young builders used more frosting to apply gumdrops, licorice, M & M’s, candy canes, marshmallows, and peppermints. Some added pretzels for a log home effect.  Metrock kept the frosting supply replenished at each table, especially since there was a good deal of finger-licking during the process.

Lilly McDonough puts the final touches on her gingerbread house at the Vinton Library class on December 12.
Lilly McDonough puts the final touches on her gingerbread house at the Vinton Library class on December 12.

“There won’t be any need for dinner tonight,” commented Heather Lawrence, parent of two of the designers.

The gingerbread house activity has not been offered for several years at the Vinton Library. Metrock, who has only been in her position for seven months, was delighted with the children’s concentration on their creations

Jacob Brennan works on plastering his gingerbread house with vanilla frosting before adding the decorations.
Jacob Brennan works on plastering his gingerbread house with vanilla frosting before adding the decorations.

“The gingerbread houses were a big success. It was fun seeing what the children came up with. We tried a different approach this holiday, thinking it was less chaotic to do just one activity, rather than have children  go from station to station doing different crafts” added Metrock.

Parents were equally impressed with the organization of the event.

“The library staff did a wonderful job. The kids had a great time. The library is such a good family destination in Vinton,” said Lawrence.

The library children’s fund provided supplies for the gingerbread house-making, aided by donations from library patrons.

Metrock hopes to make the gingerbread houses an annual event.

By Debbie Adams

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