Cardboard Gingerbread House

cardboard gingerbread activity for kids

This cardboard gingerbread house is a process art activity that helps kids create and build fine motor skills with a gingerbread house theme! Pair this with our decorate a gingerbread house Google slide deck for hands-on fun that the kids will love this holiday season.

cardboard gingerbread activity for kids

It was really easy and Big Sister and Little Guy played with it for a long time.  The creating part lasted a while when the babies were sleeping.   Sleeping Beauty looooves her new house 馃槈  

To make it, I cut up a box into enough pieces, just eye-balling the size.  No need for measuring.  The kids don’t notice and you never know when a superhero might accidentally destroy the house 馃槈

Make a cardboard gingerbread house with kids using cardboard boxes.

How to make a cardboard gingerbread house聽

Little Guy wanted me to use his special red duct tape. 聽 聽

To easily get the house shape, lay the tape on one piece then stick the corner聽piece聽onto the strip of tape.) 聽

You can make a row of four squares then close up the last shape by putting the tape on from the inside.聽 聽

Steps to make a cardboard gingerbread house.

  After all the seams are taped up, turn the whole thing upside down.  You don’t need a floor…so princesses and superheros can get in a little easier…

Tape the triangle roof pieces on.

Tape triangle pieces to the cardboard house.
Peel cardboard to make a roof for the cardboard gingerbread house.

聽Make the cardboard gingerbread house roof

Then, cover with two more squares for a roof. 聽I pulled one side of the cardboard off for a shingled look. 聽 聽

To tape the roof on, work from the inside and tape one roof side on first by taping the inside edges.

Then, stick tape to the edge of the other side of the triangle. Slightly bend the long piece of tape and place the other cardboard roof piece ontop so it sticks to the bent tape.

It looks cute, I think 馃檪 聽 Spiderman really liked his new home.

Cardboard gingerbread house for pretend play
Cardboard gingerbread house activity

Decorate the cardboard gingerbread house

After it was built, I pulled out a bag of mixed crafting materials and a ton of glue. 聽 聽

Decorate a cardboard gingerbread house with craft materials.

  Big Sister had so much fun.  She went crazy gluing stuff on.  

It was a lot like our聽process vs. product play activity.

Cardboard gingerbread house craft for kids

Use colored tape, beads, craft pom poms, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, crepe paper, and other craft materials to decorate the cardboard gingerbread house.

Kids can make a gingerbread house with craft materials.

  We had a fun day with our Candy-less Gingerbread House…but Little Guy said needed a little bit of candy  to east while he was helping to build it.  “You have to eat a Gingerbread house, Mom!”  

We are having so much fun with our Christmas Play聽activities…Check out the new tab聽at the top for all of the 聽25 Days of Christmas Play聽that we’ve done so far.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to

Visual Christmas Count-down **25 Days of Christmas Play**

Day 5 of 25 Days of Christmas Play

Paper Chain Christmas Countdown

We put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and my daughter has been confused as to how many days there are until Christmas.聽
She has been waking up in the morning asking me, “Is today the day?!?!”
I decided we needed a visual way of showing her how many days she has left until Santa comes.
I remember doing this chain link count-down when I was little and I am sure lots of you still do this.
This is a fun activity that can be used to count down any big day…vacation, birthday, holiday, sleepover…anything really!

Paper Chain Christmas Countdown by Sugar Aunts
{Note: This post contains affiliate links.聽聽In other words,聽this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.聽 Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.聽 As always, we thank you for your support and聽community here at Sugar Aunts.}
Cut out some red and green Construction Paper
into however many days you have left until the big day.聽 This is an easy activity for your preschooler to help- cut straight lines across the construction paper.聽 You or your child can number the links if you want.聽 My daughter just wanted to decorate one of the links- the one for the big day!
Link them all聽together with glue or tape and let it dry laying flat on a table out of little hands way.
Once it is dry hang it up.聽 What an easy visual aide for the kiddos!
We hung ours off of the curtain rod next to the Christmas Tree to make it look festive and to keep it away from baby brother who really wanted to rip it to shreds.
Have the kids tear off the link and count the remainder of the days.聽 Only 23 days left!

Easy No-Sew Felt Christmas Cookies **25 Days of Christmas Play**

Day 2 of 25 Days of Christmas Play

This was the play invitation I had set up for Big Sister today.  It was so easy to make these No-Sew Felt cookies…15 minutes tops.  And, with an hour+ of imaginative play time, I think it was a good investment!
Christmas Cookie Pretend Play No Sew Felt Food. By Sugar Aunts
{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}
I had the felt here at the house, but I’ve seen packs of multi-colored felt sheets
at the dollar store.  You could make a bunch of these little cookies for less than a buck.
Christmas Cookie Pretend Play No Sew Felt Food. By Sugar Aunts
I don’t have any pictures of the process of making the cookies, because it seriously was so easy to make…
1. Trace the cookie cutters
on felt.
2. Cut the shape just inside of your pen mark.
3. Trace another of the same shape on the “icing” color.
4. Cut the “icing” color about 1/2 inch smaller than your pen mark.
Add some of your whisk, spatula, cookie sheet, oven mitt, and get ready for some cheers in your house 馃檪
Mixing up a little gingerbread dough with the whisk requires bilateral hand coordination to hold the bowl and stir the whisk.
After mixing, you cut out the shapes with the cookie cutters.
Then, spread on the icing!
These cookies were perfect for pretend play, multi-step direction following, child-led play, bilateral hand coordination, and imagination.
Big Sister had so much fun making cookies for Baby Girl and me…adding sprinkles, matching the icing shape to the cookie shape.  It’s a new addition to the play kitchen food.  I’m ready for lots of yummy fuzzy cookies 馃槈

Looking for more Christmas-themed play? Try scented snowman playdoh!

UPDATE to this post: We’ve been playing with these felt cookies all year long and they are still staples in the kitche pretend play.  We’ve been enjoying fuzzy cookies all year long!

Indoor Play: 3D Drip Paint

This is an easy activity that will keep the kids busy indoors during the cold weather. We were trying to make watercolor paints with a bit of a twist. We added some salt to make it sparkle and added a little more vinegar and baking soda to make it drip.

The starting ingredients are:
3T baking soda
3T corn starch
3 T vinegar
a few teaspoons of salt (not in the picture above)
food coloring
You can adjust the ingredients to your liking…adding more corn starch makes it thicker…adding more vinegar will make it thinner…not sure what adding more baking soda does…just makes it fun to watch it bubble!
It was like a science experiment…my daughter found it a little stinky!


Mix all the ingredients together. We used 4 separate containers to make red, yellow, green, and blue.  My daughter had fun mixing the colors and watching them turn from one color into another.  On the paper we made orange, purple and brown. 

Make sure you line your table with plastic.
At first the paint was a little runny so we added a little more corn starch.  Then we decided to add a little salt.  Just be careful that no one eats it and keep it away from the animals.
It turned into a beautiful mess!
The paint was perfect for dripping onto paper and making 3D art.
Once dry, the kids had fun peeling the paint off of the paper.  We hung the picture on the window and it turned into a really neat sun catcher.
Even the little guy got in on this one.
He found the drips to be pretty amazing!
This was a fun activity that we will do again.  Once you let the paint sit for a little while in the containers, they harden and can be used again and again…just add a little vinegar to the paint and it will thin out again. 
This was the final product- 3D drip art!

Thanksgiving Tree

We have a tradition of making a Thanksgiving Tree this time of year.  It is one of my favorite things about this season.

We started the tradition of making a Thanksgiving Tree three years ago.  The kids and I will pick a stick from out in the yard and bring it in for a centerpiece on our dining room table.  One of the kids or I will cut leaves from construction paper and they will tell me all of the things that they are thankful for.  

I love to hear the things that they are thankful for. 
I have been saving the leaves from each year in an envelope labeled with the year and keep it in a storage bin in our attic, along with the rest of our fall decor.  It was so much fun this year to read the leaves along with the kids.  They loved hearing what they said last year and the year before.  We had quite a few leaves dedicated to various stuffed animals, a leaf expressing Big Brother’s thankfulness for our neighbor’s dog, and a leaf that commemorates Big Sister’s fondness for Miss. Hannigan from Annie.  There are the sweet ones that say “my little brother”, “my baby sister”, “Grandparents”, “my sippy cup”, and “Mommy and Daddy”.

Thanksgiving Tree

Planes and Fuzzballs got some thanks in this house last year….
…And Zebras, Phones, and Annie the year before 馃檪

We tape the leaves on the stick and prop it up in a centerpiece to enjoy all season long.  They love to look at it during meals and say “What does that brown one say, Mom”, or “Does this one say cousins?”

In previous years, I would start them out and say “I am thankful for…” and write my own leaf.  Big Sister did a pretty god job the first year of coming up with her own ideas.  Last year Big Brother was 2 and was able to identify some things on his own (“my silky blanket”).

This year, Big Sister helped to write them in her upper case letter, new-writer handwriting… and I know I am going to look back at them years from now and LOVE reading them!

They love this centerpiece on the table during meals…and this year, big sister is able to read some of the words herself.  Little Guy will ask her what they say and she’ll tell him “It says HOME”.

Some of the cute ones this year…“God and Jesus”, “the mall”, “mac and cheese”, and Little Guy was sure to express his gratitude for “mustard”.

And of course, where would Big Sister’s rock collection be without the dresser???
Have you done a Thankful tree before?  I would love to hear about the cute

Star Luminaries

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Party Details!
These cute jars were part of the centerpieces for Baby Girls’ 1st birthday party.  I tried to pull star details into as many parts of the party as I could.  My colors for the party were pink, navy, and silver.  I tried a blue sprayed jar and it didn’t turn out as nice as the silver.  These luminaries look a little like a tin jar when lit!

This could have turned out a little better (it could have been a little easier to pull off the star stickers…) had I used a different type of spray paint.  This paint was metallic silver spray paint and peeled really easily.  So pulling the stickers off once the paint had dried was tricky.
I started with clean, dry glass jars from of different sizes.  A couple were salsa jars, one was a cheese dip jar.  A few were baby food jars.  The big guy was a pickle jar.

Big Sister helped me stick star stickers all over the jars.

Spray the jars…

Peel off the stickers and arrange in a cluster. I scattered silver star confetti all around the jars.
(I tried a couple of jars covered in glitter to change it up a little. It looked pretty nice when they were all lit!)


Cowboy Party Invitation

Planning a cowboy birthday party? This kids party theme is a fun way to celebrate a child’s birthday. Use the cowboy invitation ideas, cowboy party activities to take cowboy theme beyond the rodeo!

Cowboy Birthday Invitation

Baby Boy was turning one, and my husband and I wanted to throw him a special birthday party.  We decided on a cowboy themed bash (mainly because of our recent trip to Nashville and a $4 cowboy hat bought at a souvenir shop.)

I will be writing several blogs about this party, but for now I wanted to show the invitation we sent out for our hoe-down.
We wanted the invites to feature our little cowboy.  And we thought it would be neat if the front looked more like a photo than an invitation.  That way people would have something cute to hang up on their fridge before the event.  And they could even keep it as a memento after the party.
My husband (a Sugar Uncle???) came up with this absolutely ADORABLE family portrait.  Baby Boy looks so gosh darn cute in just his cowboy boots, hat, and cloth diaper.  (We use Gdiapers on Baby Boy, and their cuteness has lent themselves to many a half-naked picture.)  I also love how Daddy and I (along with our cowboy boots) are present in the photo without taking 
the attention away from Baby Boy.  
What might be the most impressive thing about this photo is that my husband and I pulled this off without any assistance.  We used up a tripod, camera, and the self-timer feature to get our shot.  
How-To Hint: Play an Elmo video on a laptop and set the laptop riiiight next to the camera.  Baby Boy loved watching Elmo sing and dance and gave us a cute smile.
My hubby, once again, hit it out of the park with the back of the invitation.  He put his graphic design skills to work and created this western inspired card.  I love the fonts he used and the sunburst and stars. To make it extra fun, we used as much cowboy lingo as we thought our guests could stomach.

To make the cards, we printed each side on regular printer paper.  We used spray glue to bond the two pieces together.  Being a graphic designer, he insisted on it being “full-bleed with crop marks.” I don’t know much about his process, but the end result was perfect.


DIY wrapping paper

Kids can make their own DIY wrapping paper! 

Remember this tree from the Licorice Lagoon?
We used the kraft paper from the tree trunk for lots of painting fun! Cars and trucks drove tracks through paint mud puddles…
Dinosaurs left little foot print tracks…

And we painted some piggy toes!

We used this paper to wrap some presents for friends with birthdays.
Happy Monday!
~Posted by Colleen