Love decorating gingerbread houses, but don’t want to have all the sweets in your house? Here are some candy free Gingerbread House Ideas for Kids!
Candy Free Gingerbread House Design Ideas
A bonus is that all of these ideas are great ways to bring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into your play and learning.
Affiliate links to gingerbread house supplies.
1. PLAY-DOUGH Gingerbread Houses Ideas for Kids
Using play-dough is a great way for children to practice constructing a basic house shape.
Math learning objects:
- Make shapes that are equal to each other.
- Use a ruler for measurement.
- Measure exact amounts in inches or centimenters. (older children)
- Rolling Pin
- Play-Doh Tools
1. Roll the dough into flat slabs. Then cut the slabs into gingerbread house pieces.
<hint> smaller may be easier!
They will need to cut our enough for
2 side walls
2 end walls
2 triangles and
2 roof slabs.
2. Assemble the house. Squeeze Play Dough together at the size to connect.
*** This will be the most frustrating phase as the pieces of the house will most likely not fit together as children first imagined. Don’t worry… not getting something the first time encourages children to re-think their ideas. Talk about what is working and what isn’t.
Encourage them to re-roll their slabs and measure if needed to make sure each pair of walls and roof slabs are the same size.
3. Decorate with icing (white Play-dough) and candy (colored Play-dough). Gently press to the walls.
Younger children can decorate before assembling. It is easier to do when the pieces are laying flat.
2. Craft Paper Gingerbread House Ideas for Kids
Nowadays there is a variety of adorable patterns and colored scrapbook papers for making gingerbread houses. Use some of your stash for this project!
Engineering learning objective. Create a structure out of paper that will stand independently.
- Christmas Scrapbook Paper
- Kids Scissors
- Glitter Glue
1. Cut the paper into a large house pattern as shown above OR cut each piece separately.
Here is a link to a set of super cute printable gingerbread patterns if you need a quick activity too. This will not get kids measuring and solving engineering challenges, but are fun to make!
Each paper gingerbread house will need 2 side walls, 2 end walls, 2 triangles and, 2 roof slabs. Use a ruler to make sure the walls are of equal size.
2. Decorate the house using markers, glitter glue, and sequins.
3. Fold and glue.
3. Cardboard Gingerbread House Ideas for Kids
- Cardboard box
- Kwik Stix
- Packaging Tape
1. Talk about the gingerbread house design with your child using the cardboard box.
2. ADULTS: cut the cardboard box (s)
3. Tape the pieces together.
4. Decorate. Kwik Stix are a fast drying tempera paint and one of our new favorites. They paint smoothly on cardboard and are dry in less than 2 minutes, making them an easy, lower mess paint option for little ones. See our math project we made with them here.
I often times will start the decoration and let my kids take over and create their own house. It is OK for it to look kid-made – they are kids!
BONUS IDEA: DIY Life Sized Gingerbread House
- Scrapbook Paper
- Contact Paper or Laminent
- Outdoor Playground or Playhouse
See the directions here for making a Life Sized Gingerbread House with Kids
MORE Winter STEM Ideas from the Early Childhood Education Team:
Snowball Catapult Alphabet Activity by Mom Inspired Life
Winter STEM Activity – Build a Snowflake by Fun-A-Day
Winter Inspired Tinker Tray by Still Playing School
Make a Peppermint Stick Straw (and Sip Fresh Orange Juice!)by Capri + 3
Winter STEM for Preschool: Evergreen Tree Construction Challenge by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
Gingerbread House Construction Ideas by The Educators’ Spin On IT
For more Gingerbread Activities be sure to visit this resource of 50+ Gingerbread Activities for Kids!
Theresa A says
What a great way for kids to practice fine motor skills while having fun! Our kids would love these activities.
Danielle Buckley says
These are awesome ideas! I especially love the cardboard box gingerbread house. I am checking out the Kwik Stix right now. They sound really neat!
Angela Brumfield says
I love the play dough idea!
Mim Misadventures says
I think my kids would like the cardboard box option the best!