Today I'm sharing with you the easiest graham cracker gingerbread houses that you will ever make. They are perfect for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade class parties or make them at home, just for fun!
If you teach little people, then there's a good chance that you've made milk-carton gingerbread houses. But let's be real – those milk carton gingerbread houses are A LOT of work. You've got to collect, clean and dry the milk cartons. Then you need to assemble the gingerbread houses with graham crackers so students can decorate. But we keep making them year after year because our students love them.
Friends, there is a better way – a MUCH easier way. In this blog post I will show you step-by-step how to make a graham cracker gingerbread houses that your students will love WITHOUT the milk cartons!
Ingredients You'll Need for the Gingerbread House:
The ingredients you need are divided up into two categories. The “must-have” ingredients and the “optional” ingredients. The must-have ingredients are the things you'll need to make the graham cracker gingerbread houses. The optional ingredients are suggested ideas to decorate the gingerbread houses.
The must have ingredients include:
- graham crackers
- pretzel snaps
- large marshmallows
- Betty Crocker white frosting (this brand sets quickly)
The optional ingredients include:
- M&Ms (regular or mini size)
- miniature candy canes
- mini marshmallows
- red or green frosting
- red and white mints
Preparing the Graham Crackers:
You'll want to prepare the graham crackers ahead of time. Each student will need one graham cracker sheet that they will decorate for their gingerbread house. (They will also need an additional 1/2 sheet, but we will talk about that later!)
When cutting the graham crackers it is best to use a bread knife. Hold the graham cracker on the sides so as not to put too much pressure on the top of the graham cracker, because too much pressure will cause it to break. To cut the graham cracker, lay it on a flat surface, such as a counter or cutting board – not on a paper plate.
Using the bread knife, gently saw back-and-forth an angled line at the top of the graham cracker. Don't go all the way through the graham cracker! After you've made a perforated line, snap the corner off. Repeat on the other side.
Assembling the Gingerbread Houses:
To create the gingerbread house, each student will need:
- 1 pre-cut graham cracker sheet for the house
- 1/8 graham cracker piece (square for door)
- pretzel square for the window
- Betty Crocker white frosting
- candy decorations
- half sheet of graham cracker for the base
- large marshmallow
Students will squeeze white frosting along the top of the graham cracker gingerbread houses to create a roof.
They will squeeze two large dots on the graham cracker – one for the window and one for the door.
I recommend using Betty Crocker white frosting in the tubes because it dries the quickest and is easy for little hands.
Students use the candies to decorate their graham cracker gingerbread house.
If students are working slow and frosting dries too quickly, apply the door and window icing separate from the roof so that they can work on one section at a time.
From here you have two choices: stop or stand up the graham cracker gingerbread houses.
You can absolutely stop at this point. Students can enjoy their graham cracker gingerbread houses just as they are.
In fact, if you are doing this activity whole group and you don't have a few parent volunteers, I recommend stopping at this point. If you stop at this point, students do not need the large marshmallow or half sheet of graham cracker.
But if you are doing this activity in a small group or as part of a holiday party with parent volunteers, read on to see how to stand these adorable graham cracker gingerbread houses.
Standing the Gingerbread Houses:
To stand the graham cracker gingerbread houses, apply a line of icing along the middle of the half graham cracker sheet. Apply a large dot of icing close to that line. See image above.
Next, apply a large dot of icing on the side of the marshmallow (where it will touch the gingerbread house).
Let the icing sit for about 30 seconds so it’ll start to set and get sticky.
Stand the house up on the line of frosting. Place the marshmallow on icing dot, along the backside of the gingerbread house.
Hold in place for 1-2 minutes for the frosting to set. (The frosting hardens after 4 minutes.)
For step by step directions on how to make the Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses, check out this video:
No Prep Gingerbread Freebie:
I created a no-prep gingerbread page to go with this activity. You do not have to use it, but it works well as an extension activity. I like to be over-prepared, especially the day before a long break. Overly excited children and down-time do not mix. So this page works as a great time-filler if you find yourself with some extra time or you have students that finish early.
This is a simple page that requires no cutting or glueing. Because let's face it, on the days and hours leading up to break, things need to be kept as easy as possible.
All you need to do is print. Students simply draw a picture of their gingerbread house.
They can add a scene and color the gingerbread if time allows. You could even have them turn the paper over on the back and write a sentence or two to describe their gingerbread house.