Gingerbread play dough scented sensory play


We were inspired to have an afternoon of gingerbread fun after we pulled out a favorite Christmas book called the Gingerbread Mouse! This was a particular favorite last year and it appears to be a favorite again this year. A very simple book about a little mouse, a new gingerbread house and a little girl who befriends her and gives the mouse a gingerbread cookie. We don’t tend to do much baking around here until Christmas Eve, but I told Liam we would come up with some of our own gingerbread play. I put together three ideas. The first is felt gingerbread cookie pretend play cookie decorating. 

Homemade Gingerbread Man Play Dough Tray

gingerbread men play dough tray

Our second activity today was this wonderful tray filled with my favorite Christmas scents. We haven’t done a lot with scenting dough as he has never really taken an interest in smelling things. However, I couldn’t resist the urge to make something that smelled so delightful. I found the recipe over at The Imagination Tree. I added some more scented items to our tray including pieces of our real balsam fir Christmas tree, cranberries (leftover from our sensory bin), whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. Of course you need a gingerbread man cookie cutter and a rolling-pin to add to the fun!
gingerbread men scents play
Liam experimented first with the big mound in the center. He pushed different items into it. I love the picture of him checking out the different scents. This was the only one that really captured him smelling the stick nicely! He pretended he was making muffins and ice cream. I did show him how he could remove it from the tray and use the cookie cutter and rolling pin to make a play dough gingerbread man. 
gingerbread man playdough rolling pressing
He and  I each made on and used cloves and cranberries to decorate it. He also took the cinnamon sticks and made a sweet little frame around it. When he was finished, he said he needed to make a friend for his gingerbread man so he started another one!
gingerbread me play dough decorating


Liam loves icy experiments with salt, baking soda, food coloring and vinegar! I found a great silicone gingerbread man baking tray at a thrift store for $1 and picked it up last year. I wasn’t sure quite what I would do with it, but yesterday I finally figured out a cool activity. Icy gingerbread men. 
gingerbread men icy sensory play
I filled it with water and placed it in the freezer ahead of time so it would be ready for our Icy gingerbread men melting, fizzing experiment sensory play. Whew that’s a lot of fun in one sentence. He was so excited that it was all he could talk about. He even decided he would sit at the table and wait till I was ready to set it up for him. Here’s what we used. 
gingerbread man ice play set up
We have never combined ice melting with fizzy baking soda experiments before, but hey why not! Let’s see what happens. Since they are two of Liam’s favorite things to do, he did not mind either!  He particularly liked dusting the icy gingerbread men with baking soda like it was snowing!
gingerbread men ice play experimenting
I let him experiment and play with the icy gingerbread men whichever way he wanted. He set to work melting them, making them fizz and creating lots of puddles for them! We used a lot of salt!
gingerbread men ice eye dropper and spoon skills


Do oil and water mix? This is a classic science activity with our gingerbread men twist!

Christmas Oil and Water Science Activity with ice melting science


Click on the photos below for fun Christmas themed ideas for kids!

Christmas Cookie Cloud Dough gingerbread men play

15 Awesome Christmas Science Experiments and Activities Holiday STEM

25 Days of Christmas Jokes Countdown Calendar and Advent Idea for Kids



  1. Ooh, what a fantastic collection! I can see my kids making these and then chasing each other around the house screaming, “run, run, fast as you can. You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!”

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