Gingerbread STEAM Challenge

Looking for a fun holiday activity to do at home? Try out the Gingerbread House STEAM Challenge to explore engineering, math, and financial literacy concepts!  Preschoolers will enjoy drawing a house and building with food while older children can have the added challenge of buying supplies.

Ages 4+years, adult assistance required

What You Need:                    

  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Paper Plate
  • Toothpicks (to help support the structure)
  • Knife
  • Paper towels
  • Graham Crackers
  • Icing
  • Skittles
  • M&Ms
  • Twizzlers
  • Candy Canes
  • KitKats
  • Gumdrops
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Tiny Marshmallows
  • Sprinkles
  • Miscellaneous Candy
  • The “Budget Time” and “Design Plan” for each house being built.
  • Optional: Real currency for the activity.

For the adults:

Set out all of the Gingerbread House making supplies on a table. Use the “Budget Time” worksheet to help your children immerse themselves in the “shopping” experience. If you’re using real currency, make sure you have enough cash on hand to “break” the $20.00. Depending on your child’s understanding of currency, you can also print off the “Money Time” worksheet for them to use when it’s time to “purchase” the supplies.

What to Do:

  • Print off the Gingerbread House STEAM Challenge “Design Plan”.
  • Before building, have children review the available “building supplies” and design their Gingerbread House. They must be sure that their house has four walls, a roof, a door, and at least two windows.
  • Each child will start out with a paper plate and toothpicks to help keep their design together when it’s time to build the house.
Gingerbread Template
Gingerbread House

Budget Time

  • They have $20.00 to spend on building materials. If you’re using real currency, give them the money to shop.
  • Encourage children to leave extra money in their budget in case they need to purchase additional supplies later in the building process. *This is added in case children designed the house with every possible candy option!
  • When they have finished their budget, it is time for them to shop.

For the adult: you can be the “shopkeeper” and supervise the spending. Encourage them to bring their budget list to the table with the supplies so that they can keep track of their spending.

Remember, you can use our “Money Time” worksheet to help children familiarize themselves with US currency.

What worked?
What didn’t?

Building gingerbread houses is a fun way to explore basic engineering concepts. When the construction process is finished, review their projects.

What worked? What didn’t? If they could go back and change anything, what would it be? Would they use different candy? More? Less? How much money do they have left over? If they had more money to budget with, would their designs change at all?

*This activity was adapted from The Discovery Station in Hagerstown, MD.
Their website: https://discoverystation.org/

We Would Love to See Your Designs!

Email your photos to education@portsmouthva.gov and we might just feature them on our social media channels! Be sure to include your child’s first name, age, and any observations they had about the challenge!

Gingerbread Idea
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