Students build with sugar and spice

December 27, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Instead of bricks and mortar, the children at Freedom Elementary School chose graham crackers and creamy white icing to build houses.

About 90 fifth-grade students topped off their fairy tale unit with confectionary construction last week.

"We can make any kind of house," said Evan Vollerthum, whose multilevel building fell apart several times before he could begin decorating.

"My garage fell off," he observed. "Maybe I'll make it a carport since the sides are missing."

With no time to bake gingerbread, the classes used graham crackers. They spread icing on a pint-size milk carton. If the crackers stuck, they had walls.

"The icing looks like wallpaper glue but tastes good," said Jon Moczulski, dipping his finger into the mixture.

Stephen Knipp preferred a freestanding model and skipped the cardboard carton. He had an ulterior motive.

"I can eat the whole thing," he said.

Once their structures hardened, the sweet decorating could begin.

Gumdrops, M&M's, Hershey's Kisses and Lifesavers all figured into the construction mix. Those who wanted a snowy look scattered coconut flakes.

"This is a lot easier than making a cake," said George Murphy as he piled marshmallows onto his roof. "But cakes taste better."

Several parent volunteers kept the decorators supplied with edible materials.

With all the available options, the 10-year-old children could add many extras to their houses.

"All the stuff we don't use, we eat," said Jonathan Swift, popping a gumdrop into his mouth.

The children made gardens, driveways and decks. Tim McLaran turned candy into statuary for his yard and built a small dog house.

Leah Burke made an A-frame bilevel with a roof of colorful Necco wafers. Orange Lifesavers became Rachel Burriss' yard lights.

Chrissy Hood "wafered" a driveway and walkway. She built her multistory house on half-cracker stilts and topped it with a crooked chimney.

Joe Trageser switched from a house to a fort in the middle of the project. He stationed cannons -- marshmallows loaded with silver-wrapped candy kiss ammunition -- around his fortress and a graham cracker flag flew overhead.

Matt Falcone took his cues from the fairy tales the class had studied and duplicated the witch's house from "Hansel and Gretel." The witch in residence -- a green gumdrop with candy red eyes -- glared from the portal.

Nestle's Rainbow Morsels colorized Carolyn Quick's house, which was trimmed with green Lifesavers wreaths. Allen Reed made a replica of the Sykesville Town House, complete with a satellite dish on the roof.

When the children carried their houses home, most said they would make dessert out of the afternoon's work. Brett Jones planned to include his house in holiday entertaining.

"I am setting up a New Year's party, and we are going to eat our houses then," Brett said.

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