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DIY Cardboard Gingerbread Houses: An Easy Kid’s Christmas Table Activity Idea

Cardboard Gingerbread House Kid's Christmas Table Activity - Easy DIY.png

Like so many people, we’re terribly bored at home this Christmas season. After days of virtual school, my daughter doesn’t want to look at another screen in her downtime. So I’m coming up with low-cost ways to keep her entertained while feeling festive for the holidays. Here’s an easy way to repurpose all those cardboard boxes into a fun craft for kids. Bonus points: You can make this a tradition and use it as a kid’s Christmas table activity for your pod family to enjoy! Here’s how I created gingerbread house placemats that double as holiday decorating fun for kids …

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cardboard gingerbread house diy for kids

We have a holiday gingerbread house family tradition. Every year, my wife buys a pre-baked gingerbread house kit that she and our daughter craft together. This year, our five year old chose the Barbie Dreamhouse Gingerbread kit and it was a mess!

Barbie Gingerbread House Fail

That got me thinking. Couldn’t there be an easier way to get into the Gingerbread House game without all the sticky frosting and candies? Because, let’s face it, half of that kit goes directly into my kid’s mouth anyway.

As I was cleaning up the living room and breaking down boxes to recycle, I realized brown cardboard looks a lot like the gingerbread we were just using. The color is even an exact match!

Do you have a pile of boxes in your entryway just waiting to be discarded? Here's how you can use them to create something fun for kids during the holidays.

There are a ton of ways to create decorations for the house that aren’t edible. The only real limitation what that you’d want the look of the white frosting. What could we use to mimic that look?

That’s when the real dream house was born:

kids christmas craft ideas - no mess cardboard gingerbread house diy

No Mess Cardboard Gingerbread House Craft Tutorial

supplies needed:

glue (if 3D desired)
string
misc adornments
pompoms, sequins, etc

cardboard boxes, varying sizes
white household trim caulk
craft paint
cutting tools: scissors, box cutter, rotary blade

STEP ONE: Prep your cardboard box

Remove all the packaging tape and disassemble the box until it lays flat. remove all the jointed edges, if creating a 1D house. Then cut the box into rectangles with a box cutter or scissors. I actually used a rotary cutter and placed the cardboard onto a cutting mat to protect my work surface. Any one of these methods works fine.

She takes a cardboard box and turns it into Christmas Festivity. See how

STEP TWO: Create a roof guideline

Measure the piece of cardboard and mark the exact center of the top of your board. Then mark the board at the roughly 1/3 point (where you want your roof pitch to end). This will assist you in getting the roof angle exactly perfect.

Creating a cardboard gingerbread house - How to get the roof right

STEP THREE: Cut your roofline

Create a roofline by using a straight edge (or a scrap piece of cardboard that’s long enough) and connecting the center mark to each of the side marks. Then slice the cardboard along these lines.

How To Make A Gingerbread House From Cardboard: Trash to treasure DIY

STEP FOUR: Add “Icing”

Apply a line of caulk to the roofline, door, and windows to mimic the look of frosting. If you want the look of a snow-covered roof, apply the caulk liberally using a flat application tip (or cut your tip at an angle).

How To Make A Cardboard Gingerbread House: The perfect Christmas craft for young kids to enjoy at the table!
Cardboard Gingerbread House: How To Fake The Look of Frosting Without All The Mess

Allow caulk to dry and your work here is done! Now you can gather materials for the kids to use as embellishments.

Kid's Christmas Table Activity: DIY Gingerbread House Crafts (With Cardboard!)

DECORATING THE GINGERBREAD HOUSES

I gathered rainbow-colored beads, some string, lots of glue, and markers. I even created paper gumdrops using construction paper and a hole punch for the kids to decorate their houses with. A three-hole-punch works fast for this. I folded the construction paper into strips in order to make as many gumdrops as quickly as possible.

Gingerbread House DIY: Cardboard boxes and caulk make easy houses the kids can decorate themselves!

I made multiple gingerbread houses to keep the kids in our Pod Family busy while the adults celebrated Christmas together. A simple roll of wrapping paper acts as protection for your table in case the glue gets crazy.

I also added paint pens and a tub of decorating embellishments I found right before the party for extra Christmas cheer.

Kid's Christmas Craft Table - Keeping children entertained during parties

GET THE SUPPLIES FOR DECORATING:

some of these items may not be suitable for all children. you know your child best. use caution.

Gingerbread House Craft Party Table Setting

Gingerbread House Table Setting DIY

In an effort to encourage the kids to eat first, I set our table with the gingerbread houses as placemats for the kids to eat on. I used the green, red, and white pieces of plastic kid’s tableware from our collection to add extra Christmas charm.

DIY Gingerbread House Party Ideas: Get the kids involved in the festivities with this fun holiday themed table. After they eat, let them decorate their own cardboard gingerbread houses.

DIY Gingerbread House Party Ideas: Get the kids involved in the festivities with this fun holiday themed table. After they eat, let them decorate their own cardboard gingerbread houses.

Make it extra festive with a Hot Cocoa Bar for kids. In addition to the cocktails we put out for adults, we always add a Christmas Cocoa Bar for the kids to enjoy! Of course, we supervise the cocoa-making and we always allow extra marshmallows.

SUCCESS!! These days, it’s hard to get a few minutes of time with adults and I’m happy to report that my Gingerbread House Craft Party was exactly what we needed to allow the kids time for fun while the grown-ups enjoyed talking, laughing, drinking, and generally not being involved for a whole hour!

Kid's Christmas Party Activity: Keep them busy with these easy and cheap DIY Gingerbread Houses

I hope this easy craft project gives you the same result! Remember to pin this post on Pinterest in order to refer back to it as you work.

If you recreate this easy DIY, tag me in your post on Instagram @tmoorehome so I can share it! In fact, send me all your parenting wins this week. I need the motivation to keep going.

cheap and easy christmas table activity for kids

I’ll be back soon with more ideas for decorating for the holidays. Until then, stay safe and sane. xoxo

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