Gingerbread. While festive and a harbinger of the holiday spirit, in my experience, you either love it or you hate it. There’s no in-between. It’s as polarizing as candy corn at Halloween. (For the record, I am firmly on team gingerbread.) I believe what makes gingerbread a polarizing holiday snack is the act of building the gingerbread houses.
But luckily for you, I have compiled a great list of gingerbread craft ideas for preschoolers and toddlers. Even better, they don’t necessarily involve the cookie or the houses. But fear not, gingerbread lovers, there are a few that involve that glorious gingerbread smell if that makes you feel holly jolly.
RELATED: Christmas trees, DIY ornaments, and more can be found in this list of 40+ Christmas activities for kids.
Building gingerbread houses can make a grown man cry in frustration while crushing a tiny gingerbread wall into dust. Plus, building a gingerbread house can be time-consuming. If you’re super brave, you bake the gingerbread pieces first before laying it all out, along with candies, frosting, and sprinkles for decorating.
Then there’s the act of building the gingerbread metropolis. Whether you’re very into the gingerbread man and house making or you’re looking for a less-frustrating alternative, this list of ideas for a special Christmas activity you can do with the family will make things easy peasy and fun, with no tears or house-crushing required.
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Gingerbread Crafts for Preschoolers
The best thing about gingerbread crafts for preschoolers — well, any craft for preschoolers — means that they can also be used as festive decor no matter the holiday. These crafts will help nurture learning shapes and colors, perfecting fine motor skills, and provide a ton of fun to pass the time during a cold winter afternoon.
Gingerbread House Shape Craft (Fun Learning for Kids). Learn shapes and colors, and perfect fine motor skills with this fun gingerbread craft for preschoolers.
Gingerbread Man Craft for Kids (Gift of Curiosity). Using a gingerbread man template, simply print, cut it out, and leave glue, sequins, colored pasta, googly eyes, and more for your child to decorate their own gingerbread person.
Gingerbread Paper Plate Craft (Natural Beach Living). This simple four-step gingerbread craft for preschoolers will be a huge hit with the kids — and will make super cute DIY holiday decor for you.
No Glue Gingerbread Man Craft (No Time for Flashcards). You had me at “no glue.” This simple gingerbread craft for preschoolers requires colored sticky back foam, googly eyes, and maybe glitter if you’re feeling fancy.
Stuffed Gingerbread Boy & Girl Craft for Kids (Crafty Mornings). Some preschoolers may need help working the stapler, but they’ll have a blast stuffing these 3-D gingerbread people and then decorating them how they see fit.
Gingerbread Man Activities for Toddlers
The perfect gingerbread man activity for toddlers would be an activity that provides a learning opportunity, and something that encourages and inspires creativity for your little ones. Your toddler will love being creative and independently making their gingerbread man their very own work of art — totally customized.
Giant Gingerbread Craft (Happy Toddler Playtime). Lay a kid-sized brown sheet of paper down on the ground and trace your toddler, then have them decorate their gingerbread person. Easy, fun, and your toddler gets to use their imagination.
Gingerbread Man Holiday Sticker Match-Up (Days with Grey). No baking required. This easy gingerbread activity requires stickers, tape, and a white paper roll.
Scented Gingerbread Man Art (Fun at Home with Kids). If you’re looking for festive room fresheners, this gingerbread man activity for toddlers is perfect for you — as long as you don’t mind getting a bit messy. Tis the season, am I right?
Paper Bag Gingerbread Men (No Time for Flashcards). Make good use of those leftover Trader Joe’s shopping bags and turn them into fun and whimsical gingerbread men.
Winter Sensory Play: Gingerbread Playdough (Buggy and Buddy). This gingerbread man activity for toddlers not only smells delicious, but it’s great for your toddler’s fine motor skill development and sensory play.
Gingerbread Fine Motor Activities
These gingerbread fine motor activities are so much fun, your kid won’t even realize they’re learning valuable developmental skills in the process. It’s always fun to decorate a gingerbread man, and if you don’t have to fire up your oven or pull out the frosting? That’s a win in my book.
Christmas Gingerbread Man Fine-Motor Activity (Living Montessori Now). This Montessori-inspired gingerbread fine motor activity will be perfect for kids still perfecting their fine motor skills by using tongs, beads, and puffs to decorate a gingerbread man.
Gingerbread Man Collage Art (Fun Learning for Kids). This fun holiday collage craft is great for working on fine motor skills while your kids decorate their own gingerbread man cutout.
Gingerbread Man Sensory Bags (Gift of Curiosity). Draw a gingerbread man on the outside of a Ziploc bag and fill with gel, buttons, foam sheets for hair, cheeks, jewelry, and clothing, and have your kid go to town creating their own gingerbread man by manipulating the materials in the bag.
Gingerbread Sensory Writing Tray (The Imagination Tree). Make “gingerbread salt” as a base for your tray, cut out gingerbread people using a cookie cutter on cardboard, and write letters on them for your child to copy into the salted tray.
Gingerbread Math Activities for Preschoolers
You know I’m a huge fan of math activities for preschoolers. Keep their minds active even during the holiday break and whip out one of these gingerbread math activities for preschoolers for them to explore. Some are as easy as a printable and others just require some tracing and cutting on your part. Whichever you choose, your preschooler will have fun while learning important early math concepts.
Gingerbread Count and Cover Mats (Fun Learning for Kids). Simply print out these mats and use small manipulative pieces for your preschooler to cover each space with the appropriate number of pieces.
Gingerbread Counting and Matching Game (Active Littles). Trace gingerbread man shapes onto poster board and cut out matching shapes for your preschooler to match the number of dots to the number written on the gingerbread person.
Gingerbread Math Activity (No Time For Flashcards). Using felt gingerbread men with numbers written on their face with sharpies, have your preschooler place buttons down their front in this gingerbread math activity for preschoolers.
Gingerbread Men Number Hop (Toddler Approved). You have to love a gingerbread math activity for preschoolers that gets the kids moving. Math and gross-motor skills? Yes, please.
Wow! That list of gingerbread activities for kids turned out to be more exciting than I had thought. Guess I truly am Team Gingerbread!
Whether you are headed into the snow or staying indoors to play, this winter activity list for kids includes great ideas for toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids home from school.
Kids need to move and jump. I get it! Use this indoor activity list to help activate play so you can sit back and watch from the sidelines.
I adore this winter book list from my friend Lauren at Happily Ever Elephants.