Coyote Canyon students, parents mark break with gingerbread houses

December 31, 2017 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — The houses being constructed weren’t made with the sturdiest of materials, and presumably would be more prone to targeting by pest insects than many homes.

But it’s OK, because the homes weren’t meant to last, and their mere construction served a purpose: family time together at Coyote Canyon Elementary School.

Families of the school’s first-graders were invited on the last day before Christmas break to join their students in building gingerbread houses.

The houses were as different as the children who made them; the only material used by everyone was a milk carton and graham crackers.

The dwellings then were finished off with varying combinations of cereal pieces, sugar wafers, lollipops, pretzels, marshmallows, pretzels, coconut, gumdrops, Skittles and ice cream cones.

Frosting was the glue used to keep the houses together.

The families were encouraged to use all the materials, but asked not to eat anything. Alas, some children found a way to clean up the messes they made of their hands by licking off whatever candy residue had managed to accumulate.


After building their houses, families could go over to a special photo area and preserve the event for posterity. Some parents took their houses home immediately, while other students took those at the end of the school day.

The event coincided with Pajama Day, with many children (and some parents) dressed in their favorite sleepwear.

Joe Frederick built a gingerbread house with his daughter, Zippy Lofflin. He said participating allowed him to bond with her at the school and filled him with the Christmas spirit.

“It’s just cool to be able to do this,” Frederick said. “Not many people get to.”

Teacher Ava Smith said the classes have been doing a unit on the fairy tale “The Gingerbread Man,” and that the children had drawn preliminary ideas of what their houses might look like.

The building supplies were provided by parents, Smith said.

Not every student had family members who could attend. Smith said students who didn’t have family present were matched with others, and those parents gladly rendered assistance.

“That’s our community coming together,” she said. “That’s what’s so fantastic about this event.”