A favorite cookie is an awesome theme for Christmas STEM! Who doesn’t love baking and eating gingerbread man cookies? I know we do! Now you can use them for these awesome hands-on STEM activities and science experiments. Gingerbread science is a must-try for the holiday season!

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Explore Festive Gingerbread Science

Kids LOVE it when you give science and STEM activities a theme, and what better theme than gingerbread men! Gingerbread cookies and Christmas go so well together. Combining a fun holiday theme like gingerbread cookies and simple chemistry is pretty easy to make the holidays both magical and educational.

We have tested out a few fun gingerbread science ideas that I think you will really enjoy. Not only are they fun, but they are also simple to set up and inexpensive to add into the bustle of the holiday season.

Below, check out the links to each specific gingerbread science experiment! Click on the link or picture and learn more about the setup, supplies, and science to share with your kids. Also, find some links to our favorite books.

What Is STEM For Kids?

STEM sounds complicated, but it isn’t! Once you get how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mingle, you can see how it applies to many science and STEM activities you already love.

The best STEM activities encourage your kids to use at least 3 of the 4 pillars of the STEM acronym (science, technology, engineering, and math) to tackle their projects head-on, challenge what they know, and build character. The lessons STEM can teach our kids are priceless!

Have you played around with science with your kiddos? If you haven’t, you are in for a real treat. And if you have, you already know how much fun STEM activities are…

Unlock your kids’ curiosity and spark their inner inventor! The world of science and STEM is AMAZING with these hands-on science experiments and STEM activities!

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to share STEM with your kids. We have everything you need: simple-to-follow activities, low-prep ideas, easy-to-digest science information, and inexpensive supplies.

Helpful STEM Resources To Get You Started

Here are a few resources to help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

Get your FREE printable Christmas STEM activities guide!

Favorite Gingerbread Man Books To Share

Gingerbread man stories are beloved by kids for their adventurous and often mischievous tales. Here are five favorite gingerbread man books perfect for preschoolers and older kids: Note: I am an Amazon Affiliate.

“The Gingerbread Man” by Jim Aylesworth (Preschool – Kindergarten): Aylesworth’s retelling of the classic tale is filled with fun, rhyme, and repetition that preschoolers enjoy. It’s a playful version of the traditional story.

“Gingerbread Baby” by Jan Brett (Preschool – Grade 2): Jan Brett’s version follows the story of a mischievous gingerbread baby’s escapades, captivating children with her vibrant, detailed illustrations.

“The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School” by Laura Murray (Preschool – Grade 2): In this story, the gingerbread man goes on an adventure in a school, a fun and relatable setting for kids, featuring a mix of mischief and a sense of belonging.

“Catch That Cookie!” by Hallie Durand: In this playful and imaginative story, a class of students tries to catch their runaway gingerbread man in the school building. It’s a fun and suspenseful read that kids will enjoy.

“The Gingerbread Boy” by Richard Egielski: Egielski’s version of the classic story features vibrant illustrations and a clever twist at the end. It’s an engaging and visually appealing choice for young readers.

Printable Gingerbread Man Project Pack

For a complete pack of instructions, templates, and extras, grab our Gingerbread Project Pack!

Fun Gingerbread Man STEM Activities

I really love how simple these gingerbread ideas are to do with kids. My hope is that you will have some science-y fun this holiday season and enjoy a favorite cookie too!

Scented Gingerbread Slime

Are we baking cookies or making slime? Made from glue and liquid starch, this simple slime recipe smells amazing!

Edible Gingerbread Slime

Just like baking cookies, edible gingerbread slime that smells so good!  Enjoy taste safe slime you can play with and nibble on this holiday season.

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Fizzing Gingerbread Man

Use ingredients found in gingerbread cookies to explore the science of a fizzing baking soda chemical reaction.

Crystal Gingerbread Man Ornaments

Grow your own crystal gingerbread man ornaments from pipe cleaners and a saturated solution. Sturdy enough to decorate the Christmas tree with!

Salt Crystal Gingerbread Man

A great alternative to growing crystals with borax (above), make a gingerbread man from cardboard and a salt solution.

Gingerbread House Tessellations

Grab the printable Christmas tessellations for a hands-on Christmas math activity.

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Christmas Tessellations

Paper Gingerbread House

Paper crafts make a great STEM activity. Build a 3D gingerbread house for your gingerbread men with our easy template!

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3D Gingerbread House

Dissolving Gingerbread Men

Explore physical and chemical changes with cookies! Set up a simple dissolving cookie science experiment for the holidays.

More Gingerbread Project Ideas

Bake Gingerbread Cookies

Why not bake a batch of cookies and experiment with the ingredients? What happens when you leave out the baking soda? This article has some great information to share with the kids as well as show you how you can conduct a science experiment.

Simple Gingerbread Man Cookie Recipe

Here’s a simple and kid-friendly gingerbread man cookie recipe with a minimal number of ingredients that my grandma would always make.Don’t forget to read about the science below.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: Icing and assorted decorations for decorating the cookies

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves. Set aside.
  3. Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add Wet Ingredients: Add the molasses, egg, and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until well combined.
  5. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until a dough forms.
  6. Chill the Dough (Optional): If the dough is too soft, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes to make it easier to handle. This step is optional, especially if you’re working with kids and want to speed up the process, but it can also make the cutting process less frustrating.
  7. Roll and Cut Out Shapes: Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use gingerbread man cookie cutters to cut out shapes.
  8. Bake: Place the cut-out shapes on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
  9. Cool: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
  10. Decorate (Optional): Once the cookies are completely cooled, you can decorate them with icing and assorted decorations.

Cookie Science Information

Baking cookies involves a combination of chemical and physical changes. The initial mixing of ingredients represents a physical change, as components like flour, sugar, and baking soda retain their chemical properties while combined. 

However, chemical reactions occur once the dough is placed in the oven. Baking soda, a leavening agent, undergoes a chemical reaction with acidic components in the dough, producing carbon dioxide gas that causes the dough to rise, a clear example of a chemical change.

Overall, the process of making cookies encompasses physical changes in the mixing phase and chemical changes during the baking phase, resulting in the delicious treats we enjoy.

As kids decorate the cookies, they further explore principles of color mixing and creativity, merging art with science in a delicious and educational experience.

Learn more about physical change, chemical change, and phase changes here.

Gingerbread Man STEM Challenge

Design and create a structure or device to help the gingerbread man safely cross a “river” (a designated area) without getting wet. Suggested supplies are:

  • Gingerbread man cutouts (or any small, lightweight objects to represent the gingerbread man)
  • Craft supplies (such as popsicle sticks, straws, tape, paper, cotton balls, foil, etc.)
  • Containers of water (to represent the “river”)
  • Other building materials or tools deemed suitable and safe for the challenge

Build A Gingerbread Man Tower

Build with gingerbread man cookies! Grab a can of icing and a bag of crispy gingerbread man cookies. Can you make a tower? Of course, you can’t forget about building gingerbread houses as an amazing STEM activity for the holidays.

5 Senses Gingerbread Tasting

Cookie tasting is excellent for learning about the 5 senses. If you can find a variety of cookies from crispy to chewy, you can set up an excellent cookie tasting for the 5 senses. Your experiment can include taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound {think about munching and crunching}.  See our 5 Senses Chocolate Challenge!

More Fun Gingerbread Activities

Printable Christmas STEM Project Pack

200+ PAGES OF HOLIDAY THEME STEAM, STEM, Science, and Art!

  • 25+ Christmas theme science and STEM activities with printable sheets, instructions, and useful information all using easy-to-source materials perfect for limited-time needs. Includes a holiday theme engineering pack with fun, problem-based challenges for kids to solve! NEW observation sheets included.
  • Try a Santa’s Letter airplane challenge or take the gingerbread house-building challenge! 
  • Explore the five senses with a specially designed Santa’s Lab pack.
  • Try a mini nature study with your favorite type of Christmas tree.
  • Try your hand at building shapes with gumdrop structure challenge cards or build shapes with jingle bells. Or try the Christmas-themed paper chain challenge!
  • Christmas Screen-free Coding activities include algorithm games, binary code ornaments, and more!
  • Explore 6+ Christmas Art Projects with famous artist-inspired activities that combine art history, process art techniques, and more with simple to-do ideas. 

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