Gingerbread house design, a gingerbread train, candy decor, icing and a candy cane
Gingerbread house design, a gingerbread train, candy decor, icing and a candy cane

This year more than ever, kids need projects to keep them busy, and making gingerbread houses is fun for the whole family.

From classic gingerbread houses to cozy cabins and tasty décor, we’ve rounded up 11 easy gingerbread house ideas to inspire you and your littles. Best of all, you don’t even need to turn on the oven (unless you want to). Just nab a gingerbread house kit, and follow the tips here to decorate it with all the treats and trimmings.

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1. Gingerbread House Cabin

Why we love it: You may be stuck in the house this holiday, but you and the kids can still enjoy a winter getaway with this charming starlit cabin.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Construct your gingerbread house according to your kit’s instructions. Next, using icing as glue, cover the roof in rows of wheat cereal. Use cinnamon sticks to make a chimney and a log pile, cutting the sticks to size as needed (be careful—this is a job for mom or dad). Once your cozy cottage is complete, string star lights behind it, step back and enjoy the enchanting scene.

2. Gingerbread Train

Why we love it: What’s cooler than a gingerbread house? A gingerbread train, of course. The kids will have a blast building and decorating this not-so-traditional tasty creation.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: You can use pieces from a gingerbread house kit for this project, but a gingerbread train kit makes the job even easier! Start by assembling your train, keeping the carts open so you can fill them with mini marshmallows and candy canes. Use dots of icing to attach cookie wheels to the carts and join them with candy cane sticks. Create a smokestack at the front of the train by layering round cookies and icing until it’s the right height.

3. Gingerbread House Planter

Why we love it: The Christmas season wouldn’t be the same without a little (okay, a lot of) greenery. This chic planter design will keep older and design-savvy kids engaged, while little ones can have an adventure gathering small boughs.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Assemble your gingerbread house as usual, keeping the top open. Next, decorate the house however you’d like, then pop it full of artificial greenery, gathered boughs or fresh sprigs of rosemary. Simple as that!

4. Gingerbread House Cake

Why we love it: Mom and dad will admire its ease and sophistication, while little kids will be happy to have cookies and cake.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Make a holiday cake extra festive by decorating it with gingerbread house cookies. Using wall pieces from your gingerbread house kit, decorate the house façades however you’d like. Next, arrange the gingerbread house cookies around your cake—it may need an extra coat of icing to help them stick. If you’d like, you can spruce up the display with some pinecones and greenery.

5. Gingerbread House Village Display

Why we love it: Your gingerbread houses are works of art. Give them the spotlight they deserve by putting them on display. Bonus, this method keeps them fresh enough to eat—they are cookies, after all!

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Decorate the houses however you’d like, then sprinkle icing sugar all over the bottom of the cake stand (this is a fun activity for kids if you don’t mind some mess!). Once the cookies are dry, arrange the gingerbread house village on the stand. For the final touch, cover the scene with a glass dome and prepare for hungry admirers.

6. Mini Gingerbread Houses and Hot Cocoa

Why we love it: Gingerbread with a side of hot cocoa? Yes, please! These adorable mini gingerbread houses will make the perfect holiday treat for you and the family.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Get the kids to help assemble and decorate the mini houses, while you cut out sturdy bases from material like cardstock, so each house can sit across the edge of a cup. Attach the houses to the cardstock with icing after the kiddos have finished decorating. Once your hot chocolate is whipped to perfection, pour it into festive mugs, top it off with marshmallows and place a mini gingerbread house on each one. Dunk the houses into the cocoa between sips and enjoy the sweet taste of the season.

7. Gingerbread Lodge

Why we love it: This rustic gingerbread lodge is an opportunity to show off your elevated design skills and keep the kids busy layering the gum siding.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Using icing as glue, cover the walls of your house with sticks of white gum, overlapping them for a rustic feel. Leave some blocks uncovered for the windows and door. Next, pipe on icing window panes, and stick some pretzel shutters next to them. For the roof, overlap sliced almonds, working your way from the bottom to the top. Then, use pretzel sticks to create a front door. Finally, adorn the roof with rosemary sprigs and red candies, then sprinkle some coconut ‘snow’ on the ground.

8. Gingerbread House Stocking Hangers

Why we love it: These personalized gingerbread houses will help guide Santa to the right stockings on Christmas Eve, and can do double duty as his thank-you treat.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Gather each family member to create their own gingerbread house, making sure to add personal details. Next, arrange each gingerbread house above its creator’s stocking so Santa knows where to deliver the goods.

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Quick tip
For an extra personalized touch, get each family member to write their name on their gingerbread house in icing.

9. Peppermint Gingerbread House

Why we love it: Kids can’t fight over the supplies if you limit their choices to seasonal red-and-white or holiday white-and-red.

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Assemble your gingerbread house, then outline the windows and doors with white icing. For a polished look, space the roof candies about a centimeter apart. Or, let the kids have at ‘er—at least the houses will match! Finish the look with peppermint wheels and a peppermint front-door ‘wreath’.

10. Classic Gingerbread House

Why we love it: A sugar-coated roof…A candy-covered walkway…Need we say more? There’s nothing wrong in starting your kids’ gingerbread experience with a classic!

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Build your house according to the kit’s instructions, then use the icing sugar to attach candy tiles to the roof. Then, decorate the rest of the house with lots and lots of candy—the more, the merrier. A gingerbread man, Christmas tree cookie and a sprinkle of shredded coconut snow complete the look.

11. Gingerbread House Ornaments

Why we love it: Snazzy gingerbread houses that double as decorative Christmas tree ornaments are a ‘yes’ in our books. How long the little ones will let them last on the tree is another story…

What you’ll need:

How to make it: Set aside the icing that comes with your gingerbread kit and use royal icing[1] with a stiff consistency to attach the walls of these houses together—they’ll need the strong stuff. Keep the houses light by using small, lightweight candies and omitting the bases. Cut about 10 centimeters of ribbon for each house, and join them in loops with royal icing or a hot glue gun. Attach one side of the roof with royal icing, then attach the end of the ribbon to the middle of the roof piece with royal icing, leaving some extra to inside the house. Fix the ribbon into place by ‘gluing’ the final roof piece on with more royal icing. Repeat with each house, leaving them to dry overnight before hanging on the Christmas tree.

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TIME-SAVING TIP

Prep royal icing in advance, storing it in the fridge for a couple weeks if needed. When you’re ready to use it, simply bring the icing to room temperature so it’s easy to use.[2]

Gingerbread House Decorating Must Haves

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