Looking for a candy-free gingerbread house idea? Kids can decorate this cardboard gingerbread house with colourful scraps from the craft room. It’s a fun activity for kids to do at a Christmas party or as a group at daycare or preschool.
We have quite a few gingerbread crafts here on my blog, and this one is always a favourite with my toddlers and preschoolers. I’ve always made decorating a gingerbread house an annual tradition with my own kids, but I don’t with my daycare hooligans because I don’t want them having all that candy at their fingertips.
I came up with the idea for a cardboard gingerbread house one year, and decorating it was just as much fun as decorating a real one. The bonus? No sugar rush! Plus, they each got to take one home and display it for the season at their house.
You may also like our idea for a Milk Carton Gingerbread Village, and our smaller tin foil gingerbread house ornaments.
Isn’t it adorable? It was a lot of fun to make – lots of fine motor action – and it will keep for years. Much longer than any candy house your kids could ever make.
Let’s gather our supplies and I’ll show you how to put this activity together for your kids. It’s easy!
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Cardboard Gingerbread House Supplies
- thick cardboard
- glue gun
- quilt batting
- craft foam pieces
- craft jewels
- silver garland chopped up
- brown craft paint
- paint brushes
Making our cardboard house:
To make our cardboard house, I made paper templates by drawing shapes for the walls, roof, doors and windows on a piece of paper. I cut those out and then traced them on to a thick piece of cardboard and cut those pieces out.
Ignore the door and windows. We decided it would be more fun to use colourful scraps of foam and ribbon doors and windows.
Then I glued the house together with a hot glue gun.
Time to decorate!
To start, I poured a couple of colours of brown paint, and the hooligans covered the sides and the roof of the house.
Next, I gave them a piece of quilt batting that I had cut to roughly match the size of the roof. They coated the roof with glue, and pressed the batting in place. Presto. A snowy rooftop.
Then I gave them a sectioned tray filled with crafty bits and pieces, and the fun began!
The girls spend ages gluing bits and pieces all over their house, and decorating it like they would a real gingerbread house!
The great thing about this gingerbread activity is that no-one was squabbling over the candy and they weren’t all hopped up on sugar at the end of the morning.
And now, we have an adorable gingerbread house that will last forever. I’m sure we’ll bring it out year after year, and reminisce about how fun it was to make.
To see all of our easy and affordable Christmas crafts and activities, check out my Hooligans Xmas pinboard!
Your kids will also love:
- Cardboard Christmas Tree Decorating Activity for Kids
- Milk Carton Gingerbread House
- Paper Plate Gingerbread Man
- Scented Sandpaper Gingerbread Man
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Rachel | Racheous - Lovable Learning
I know my kids would LOVE to do this. I love the open-ended fun in your set up!
Thanks, Rachel! This really was so fun. Glad you liked it.
You can buy cookie cutter sets that have the shape of the gingerbread house, at most stores. Just use them as a template for the walls and such. This is a great idea and I am going to get my special needs daughter to make some for our home. Great learning fun without realizing they are learning, haha.
Have fun with it, Debbie! Great thinking with the cookie cutters!