How to Make a Gingerbread House With Graham Crackers and Turn It Into a STEM Lesson

Don't waste your money on STEM products. Let your children create a gingerbread house with graham crackers to develop their engineering prowess!

Parents get taken in by STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). They want to believe in its promise of a bright future with good-paying jobs for their kids. Retailers cash in on the craze, sticking STEM labels on toys, games, books, and high-tech products. But parents need to relax, save their money, and understand that STEM is around us – not just in nicely packaged items at the toy store.

Kids have been making gingerbread houses with graham cookies for years, and it's an ideal STEM project. It challenges children to use engineering skills such as planning, organizing, problem solving, and paying attention to detail. Plus, it promotes creativity, independence, and initiative.

When my son made a gingerbread house at preschool, it was crazy: too many kids and too little time. That's when I realized that creating one is an activity better suited for home. Children take their time – fuss over every detail and make changes as they go. In fact, they love it so much that they may build an entire gingerbread city like my nephew did. So put out the materials, stand back, and let them go for it!

1. Assemble what you need: 1/2 pint milk carton (empty and taped shut), a paper plate, graham crackers, white frosting, sprinkles, candy, mini-marshmallows, raisins, or whatever you have in your pantry

2. Spread the white frosting on the back of a graham cracker. The frosting will serve as your "glue."

3. Figure out how to cover the entire milk carton with graham crackers. You may need to break some or cut some with a knife to get the shape you want.

4. Decorate it with frosting, candy, sprinkles, raisins, and mini-marshmallows. Eat or display!

When I taught kindergarten, this book was always a favorite of my students. They loved the surprise at the end. Many of them knew the story of the little gingerbread man but had never heard this version. Make some hot cocoa and gather the kids by the fire for this tale of a Gingerbread Baby and a wild chase

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