I’ve officially given up on the gingerbread house. Making them, that is – not that I’ve ever been a fan of eating them, after sitting out on our mantle gathering dust (and the occasional spider) for weeks – not that dry, molasses-heavy gingerbread designed for its structural integrity has ever been particularly known for its deliciousness. But this – this I can work with.
We’re making a different kind of edible treat this year – the folks at Rice Krispies reached out to ask if I’d help spread the word about their Treats for Toys program, which turns homemade treats into real toys for kids in need. This is a win-win scenario: I get a fun project to take on at the kitchen table with W (and any of his cousins and friends who might be over), working with a medium I can actually handle, and want to eat afterward. The idea is that if you transform marshmallowy Rice Krispie treat mixture into toy shapes – robots, cars, building blocks… we even came up with a top that actually spins, built around a chopstick and moulded in a plastic funnel – and share a photo on TreatsForToys.ca or through social media using the #TreatsForToys hashtag, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies will donate $20 (!!) to The Salvation Army to buy a real toy for a child who may otherwise go without. Now in its fifth year, the #TreatsforToys program has contributed more than $130,000 to date to make the holidays happier for kids across Canada.
They’ve added an extra challenge this year, if you’re up for it: come up with a toy that has moving parts – besides the top, we found string licorice and even stick pretzels make moveable joints, and it was a fun challenge to take on. The boys made these – Mike was particularly proud of the snake, made with hand-formed sections that would also work well if you wanted to do beads strung on edible licorice laces for a chunky evolution of the classic candy necklace.
While the marshmallow-Rice Krispies mixture is still warm, it’s nice and pliable and so easy to work with – if you butter your hands (or spray them with a bit of nonstick spray) you can shape the mixture into just about anything. We made a snowman, a robot, a dog with moving legs (it got eaten), and these guys. Of course they’re easy to decorate with icing and candy – kids are always into decorating things at this time of year – and if you add them while the marshmallowy mixture is still a bit tacky, sprinkles and coloured sugar will stick on their own.
So if you’re looking for a new project with the littles this holiday season, set up some Rice Krispies treats and a little candy bling on your kitchen table, then share your creations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest with the hashtag #TreatsforToys and $20 will go toward buying a new toy for a deserving Canadian kid who needs it. It’s so nice when you can spread joy even further.