The delicious and distinctive smell of gingerbread is so inviting in this Holiday themed play dough activity. Gather your little ones around the table and watch their imaginations at work, as they create their very own Gingerbread Men.
Ingredients for Gingerbread Play Dough
Makes enough for 4-5 children to play.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup of water
I began by placing all of the dry ingredients into a large pan and gave them a good mix with a wooden spoon.
Next, I added the oil and water. Over a medium heat I kept mixing the ingredients together until they formed a consistency a bit like thick cake batter.
Continue stirring until a ball of dough starts to form.
Take out the ball of dough and give it a good knead for a few minutes, before letting your child play with it.
Play Dough Troubleshooting – if your dough feels too sticky add more flour, if it feels too dry then add more water or vegetable oil.
This was our first time making a cooked play dough recipe and it couldn’t have been simpler. I don’t know why I have been so worried about making it this way before. It produces a much better quality play dough that will last a long time if stored away in an air-tight container after use.
Invitation to Make Gingerbread Men
An invitation-to-make activity is all about giving your preschoolers the freedom to explore the materials in front of them. If they just want to add on buttons, then great. If they don’t want to add on any googly eyes, then that is also fine. It is all about the process at this stage of their development, rather than achieving a perfect Gingerbread Man.
Along with the Gingerbread Play Dough I laid out
These are just suggestions for the Gingerbread Men decorations. Raid your own craft supplies and see what you have to hand, to make great decorations to ceate your own gingerbread men.
Once you have laid out all of the supplies, invite your preschoolers over to the table make some Gingerbread Men.
My daughter enjoyed exploring the decorations individually before starting to group them altogether on her gingerbread men.
Benefits of an Invitation-to-Make
Creativity – Give their budding imaginations a thorough workout by encouraging them to use their own ideas rather than a set template to follow. This will help them to become much better problem solvers in later life.
Communication – A nice relaxed environment to chat with children or encourage storytelling about what they are making.
Solo or Group Work – Perfect for children to do alone, with a group of friends or siblings, or in a preschool classroom setting.
Fine Motor Skills – Picking up and placing small objects onto the play dough in this activity is great for strengthening those all-important fine motor skills which is essential for young children.
Add some literacy to your invitation by reading gingerbread books, too!
BIO: Nicola is a former Librarian who now spends her time looking after and coming up with arts and crafts ideas for her sons Liam (7), Freddie (5), and Bella (3) to do together. Her blog is Crafty Kids at Home. You can find her on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Follow my Gingerbread Pinterest Board for more great ideas!