Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Lesson Plan: Easy Fun!

Learn how to make a graham cracker gingerbread house that is easy enough to make for school parties, family gatherings, or a fun afternoon at home. From preschoolers on up through upper elementary grades, this project is a fun way to keep kids engaged during party time. Once you learn the secret to setting up these simple graham cracker gingerbread houses, you might want to make this an annual holiday tradition. It’s a snack and party activity all rolled into one. Plus, it keeps kids busy for a looooong time, which is always a win in my book. How do you make a gingerbread house out of graham crackers? Can you make a gingerbread house out of graham crackers? Read on for the super simple supplies and instructions. Two different graham cracker house designs are included for the sake of variety.

The Easy Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Backstory


When I taught first grade, my teaching partner and I were always on the lookout for ways to make holiday parties less stressful. We really wanted to enjoy the party as much as our students. When we heard about trying to make a “gingerbread house” out of graham crackers, we were skeptical. Would it really work for first graders? We tried it, and it was a lot of fun. There were a few parent volunteers on hand to help, which made the process go more smoothly, but this activity can be done without parent volunteers as well. Preparation is the key. Once the kids have the supplies, they really can do it themselves. Add in a few gingerbread-themed read alouds and you’re all set for some fun.

How to make a graham cracker gingerbread house Pinterest image

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Easy Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Supplies

The supplies for graham cracker gingerbread houses are simple. If you are a classroom teacher, you could even share the supply list with families and have them each contribute items. When I did this, the kids had fun bringing in one tub of frosting, a box of graham crackers, or bags of candy for gingerbread house decor.

3 and 1/2 Honey Maid or other brand of graham crackers (when you break in half you will have 7 squares)

1/2 tub vanilla or cream cheese frosting (the tub can be divided to make 2 graham cracker gingerbread houses)

Assorted small candies or pieces of dried fruit

1 8-ounce milk carton (the tall kind)

1 plastic knife

1 plastic spoon

1 sturdy paper plate ( or a few layers of thin paper plates)

1 2-gallon-sized zip top plastic bag (or a plastic produce bag and a twist tie)

Easy Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Instructions

How do you make a gingerbread house out of graham crackers and milk cartons? Here are the easy steps. First, place some frosting on the bottom of the milk carton and position on the paper plate. Break each graham cracker in half. Spread frosting on the back of four of the graham cracker halves and attach to the sides of the milk carton.

easy graham cracker gingerbread house attaching the graham crackers

Break the remaining graham cracker half in half to go under the eaves of the roof.

Spread frosting on the backs of the remaining two graham cracker halves and place on top of the milk carton for the roof. If you haven’t put the quarter graham crackers under the eaves, you can do that now. While the roof is drying, begin decorating the walls.

easy graham cracker gingerbread house spreading frosting

You can spread the frosting directly on the walls, then stick candy on the frosting. You can also place a small amount of frosting on the back of each piece of candy or dried fruit before placing on the wall. Add as many decorations as desired. When the walls are decorated, you can decorate the roof.

After your graham cracker gingerbread house is complete, carefully place the plate with the house inside the 2-gallon bag for transportation. You can also use plastic produce bags and twist ties, but those don’t provide quite as much protection.

graham cracker gingerbread house with dried fruit

Easy Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

Learn how to make a graham cracker gingerbread house that is easy enough to make for school parties, family gatherings, or a fun afternoon at home.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1

Equipment

  • 1 Plastic knife
  • 1 Plastic spoon
  • 1 Sturdy paper plate or multiple thin paper plates stuck together
  • 1 2-gallon-sized zip top plastic bag (or a plastic produce bag and a twist tie)

Ingredients
  

  • Honey Maid or other brand of graham crackers (when you break in half you will have 7 squares)
  • ½ tub Vanilla or cream cheese frosting (the tub can be divided to make 2 graham cracker gingerbread houses)
  • Assorted small candies or pieces of dried fruit
  • 1 8-ounce milk carton (the tall kind)

Instructions
 

  • Place some frosting on the bottom of the milk carton and position on the paper plate.
  • Break each graham cracker in half. Spread frosting on the back of four of the graham cracker halves and attach to the sides of the milk carton.
  • Break the remaining graham cracker half in half to go under the eaves of the roof.
  • Spread frosting on the backs of the remaining two graham cracker halves and place on top of the milk carton for the roof. If you haven’t put the quarter graham crackers under the eaves, you can do that now.
  • While the roof is drying, begin decorating the walls. You can spread the frosting directly on the walls, then stick candy on the frosting. You can also place a small amount of frosting on the back of each piece of candy or dried fruit before placing on the wall. Add as many decorations as desired. When the walls are decorated, you can decorate the roof.
  • After your graham cracker gingerbread house is complete, carefully place the plate with the house inside the 2-gallon bag for transportation. You can also use plastic produce bags and twist ties.

Notes

The number of calories is not counted for this recipe because the calorie count will vary depending upon the types of decorations used. The time it takes to complete a graham cracker gingerbread house will vary depending upon the age of the person making the creation. 60 minutes is a good estimate for younger elementary students.
Keyword candy, desserts, party activity, snack

Common Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Construction Questions

What do you use to stick a gingerbread house together? For this graham cracker gingerbread house, store-bought frosting can be used. Vanilla or cream cheese frosting works well.

Are gingerbread houses made out of graham crackers? Authentic gingerbread houses are made from flat sheets of baked gingerbread. For this simple party activity for kids, graham crackers work well as a substitute for gingerbread.

How do you cut graham crackers without breaking them? When you are breaking the graham crackers apart, try to break them carefully along the lines. Even then, you might have some that break into odd pieces. Try to have extra graham crackers on hand in case this happens.

What supplies do you need to make a gingerbread house? For this graham cracker version, the supplies include graham crackers and a milk carton for shaping the house. To make a true gingerbread house, you can use baked gingerbread and a sturdier frosting, such as royal frosting.

How do you keep a gingerbread house from falling apart? In this graham cracker gingerbread house version, the milk carton and frosting are used to solidify the shape of the house. If you spread the frosting thickly, the graham crackers will stick well to the milk carton.

What is the best ingredient to keep gingerbread houses from falling apart? The frosting makes all the difference. You also want to spread it on thickly.

How do you thicken the frosting for a graham cracker gingerbread house? If you need to make thicker frosting, add one tablespoon of powdered sugar to 1/2 tub of frosting and mix well. When I made the graham cracker gingerbread house in the photos, I tested the frosting with and without added powdered sugar. Both worked well, but the frosting that had the powdered sugar added provided a more solid, stable base for sticking on the candy.

How do you set up a gingerbread house? For this graham cracker variation, it’s important to attach the milk carton to the paper plate with a thick layer of frosting before attempting to attach the walls and roof of the house.

How long does it take for a gingerbread house to dry? This graham cracker gingerbread house was dry enough to transport immediately after finishing. It’s best to protect it with a plastic bag around the creation, especially if the house is going home on a school bus.

Common Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Decoration Questions

What kind of candy do you use for gingerbread house? What are decorations that you can put on a gingerbread house? For this graham cracker gingerbread house activity, it’s best to use small pieces of candy like M&Ms or chocolate chips. If the pieces of candy are too large, they will fall off of the walls and roof. If the pieces are too tiny, they are tough for little fingers to grasp. You can also use raisins, dried apple slices or dried strawberries, as I did in the dried fruit variation.

Is it safe to eat a gingerbread house? This graham cracker gingerbread house is entirely safe to eat. There is no hot glue used or anything else that is inedible (except for the milk carton, of course).

How do you stick decorations to gingerbread? You can spread a layer of frosting on the roof and walls, then add the decorations. You could also spread a little frosting on each decoration, then attach it to a wall or roof.

How do you decorate a gingerbread house roof? You can decorate a graham cracker gingerbread house roof by spreading frosting on the roof, then attaching candy or dried fruit. I like to spread a thick layer of frosting on so that it looks a bit like snow on the roof.

Tips for Making These Easy Gingerbread Houses as a Party Activity

If you are making these graham cracker gingerbread houses with preschoolers or younger elementary students, advance preparation makes all of the difference. The supplies can be easily divided and placed on the paper plate so that each student or party guest has their own gingerbread house kit. The small candies or dried fruit can be placed in a small bowl for each student or party guest. Provide everyone with a damp paper towel or clean, damp rag to wipe their fingers on as they are placing the decorations. on the houses. Demonstrate how to spread the frosting on the graham crackers before placing on the milk cartons. Recruit adult volunteers to assist students, if possible.

Reduced Sugar Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Variation

If you are not too keen on having kids eat a lot of candy, you could substitute the candy pieces for dried fruit. If you have read my post about using a food dehydrator, you know I am a big fan of drying many types of fruit. Some kinds of fruit that lend themselves well to this activity include dried apple slices, dried berries, and raisins.

Easy Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Lesson Plan

If you would like to make this activity a STEM activity, using the milk carton and graham crackers might seem like cheating, but after reading a book like The Plan for the Gingerbread House, kids might be relieved to be making a simpler version.

Materials needed for a class of 30 students:

5 14.4-ounce boxes of Honey Maid or other brand of graham crackers (when you break in half you will have 7 squares for each student, plus quite a few extra in case some break)

15 tubs vanilla or cream cheese frosting (each tub can be divided to make 2 graham cracker gingerbread houses)

Assorted small candies or pieces of dried fruit (examples: A 1-pound bag of holiday M&Ms and 1 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips or for the healthier version a 2-pound bag of raisins)

30 8-ounce milk cartons (the tall kind saved from school lunches and rinsed)

30 plastic knives

30 plastic spoons

30 sturdy paper plates ( or a few layers of thin paper plates)

30 2-gallon-sized zip top plastic bag (or a plastic produce bag and a twist tie)

Lesson time: 20 minutes for the introduction, plus additional time for making the graham cracker gingerbread houses, however you decide to divide that up. 60-90 minutes total time, depending upon the age of your students.

Read a book about gingerbread houses. It could be The Plan for the Gingerbread House, or another title, such as The Gingerbread House by Laura Gia West, A Gingerbread House in the Woods by Melanie Salas, or Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun. Get more gingerbread book ideas here.

Explain the graham cracker “gingerbread” house project to students. Demonstrate the steps of placing the milk carton on the paper plate with frosting on the bottom. Demonstrate spreading the frosting on the back of each graham cracker piece and attaching the walls.

Questions to ask students: How will our houses be different from the houses in the story? What do you think the most challenging part of our project will be? What do you think the easiest part will be?

Distribute supplies. (Tip: Break the graham crackers in half ahead of time, and if time, place all supplies except the 2-gallon bag on the paper plate, ready to go.)

Give students time to spread frosting and attach the houses to the paper plates. Then have students spread frosting and attach walls.

Give students time to attach graham crackers to the roof of each house. Have students begin decorating the walls while the roof dries. When students have had enough time to decorate, have them step back and admire their creations.

Interactive Museum (optional): If you have time, form a line of students and a route around the classroom. Lead the line of students around the tables or desks, observing each student creation along the route.

Post-construction reflection with students (optional): Ask questions like, “What went well? Not well? What will you do differently if you ever try this again?”

Get a printable PDF version of this lesson plan

Are You Now Inspired to Make Your Own Graham Cracker Gingerbread House?

Ready to try this fun activity for yourself? If you like introducing easy party recipes to kids, you might also enjoy having kids make easy Nutter Butter reindeer, Santas and snowmen. For a fun fall party activity, try making no-bake mini pumpkin pies. Other easy, kid-friendly dessert recipes include cake in a mug (ready in less than 2 minutes) and the easiest cookie recipe ever. Create some treasured memories with shared baking experiences.

Get a Free Cookbook

If you liked this easy recipe/activity, there are many more included in this free cookbook which includes some of the most popular recipes from the Fluxingwell site. Looking for some easy recipe inspiration? This cookbook is for you!

Fluxing Well Cookbook

I need some easy recipes!

If you would like even more recipe ideas, consider following my Easy Recipes board on PinterestHave a fabulous day, and may all of your graham cracker gingerbread house endeavors meet with great success.

First Name Signature Conclusion

 

 

Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and school librarian who likes to use her job as an excuse to stay up far too late reading books and noodling around with tech tools. To get even more teaching ideas, click on over to her Book and Tech Tips website.

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21 thoughts on “Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Lesson Plan: Easy Fun!”

  1. I am inspired to make my own graham cracker gingerbread house. Alas we do not have these lovely crackers in Australia. You have started me on a quest to find a substitute biscuit. We have square biscuits that are salty and we have round biscuits that are sweet but obviously would not work for a house shape. The closest in taste is the Nice biscuit but it is rectangular… I will give it a go and see with my grandkids this christmas.

    Reply
    • I never thought about graham crackers not being available down under. If you try this with your biscuits, I’d love to see a photo!

      Reply
  2. 5 stars
    These instructions on how the make a super simple graham cracker gingerbread house are very easy to follow. Such a fun idea for a holiday party or Christmas activity. Great idea!

    Reply
    • Thank you! It’s a great, fun holiday project for all ages.

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    I love the idea of making graham-cracker gingerbread houses! Looks not so complicated and fun! Thanks so much for sharing, Lisa! I enjoy so much your recipes and ideas.

    Reply
    • Oh, I so appreciate your kind words. Thank you for your encouragement!

      Reply
    • Well, this recipe does not call for real gingerbread, but I hope you have a chance to design a graham cracker version of a gingerbread house.

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    I have 2 toddlers and they are really going to enjoy making these! Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
    • You are most welcome! Have fun making these graham cracker gingerbread houses!

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    Easy to make Graham Cracker Gingerbread houses are a great idea. I really enjoyed making these with my son and then grandson. Thanks.

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    I love the idea of making a graham cracker gingerbread house! I totally need to give this a try, assuming I can open a box of graham crackers and not eat them all before I build the house, haha.

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    This is awesome. I love Grahm crackers.

    Reply
  8. 5 stars
    These graham cracker gingerbread houses really are fun and easy! I couldn’t believe how easily mine came together. Thank you fir sharing this cute idea!

    Reply
    • Oh, I’m so glad you tried the graham cracker gingerbread house for yourself. Have fun snacking on it or using it for holiday decor!

      Reply

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