These gingerbread messy play ideas are fun ways to extend a well-loved story with your students. Be sure to check out our epic list of messy play ideas once you’re done here!
Below, you’ll find messy sensory, art, and science activities that will fit perfectly in your next gingerbread man theme. Your students can explore, play, and create as they delve into the various versions of the gingerbread man stories.
Of course, you don’t have to incorporate the messy gingerbread activities into a story unit. These ideas would also fit well within a baking theme, a five senses theme, or just because you know your students would love them!
Related: Benefits of Messy Play
Run, run, as fast as you can . . . to catch all of the messy gingerbread man ideas for the kids. While I’ve used the following ideas mostly with preschoolers, I’m positive kindergarten and elementary-ages kids will enjoy these gingerbread activities. Honestly, I’m betting older kids will get a kick out of a few of them, too.
Gingerbread Messy Play Ideas
Below you’ll find the gingerbread messy play fun, most of which I’ve tried with kids over the years. Some are ideas from Fun-A-Day, while others are from around the web. Each activity will be linked (the blue, underlined text). You can click on each of the links for more details about the specific messy ideas.
I’ve included some ideas for materials to grab ahead of time, as well as a few tips to contain the messy fun. Yes, these ideas are messy, but the kids are getting so much out of them! And you can definitely adapt each activity based on your preferences and the needs/interests of your students.
Materials for the Messy Gingerbread Activities
If you’re not up for a supply run, pick the gingerbread messy play ideas that use what you already have on-hand! Of course, if you need an excuse to head to the craft store, I fully support that decision as well. Here are some materials for the ideas shared below (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Gingerbread cookie cutters
- Googly eyes
- Washable tempera paint
- Brown Model Magic
- Liquid starch
- Sticky paper
- Craft foam
Again, remember that you can change things up based on the supplies you already have at home or in the classroom.
How to Contain the Gingerbread Messiness
These gingerbread messy play ideas are sure to get a bit messy. It’s right there in the name! Some are messy than others, and of course a lot of this depends on you and your students.
I’m not one to shy away from mess, but I’m also a big believer in having a plan going in. Here are a few tips to really make the most out of the messy activities (without letting the mess take over entirely):
- Choose a location that’s easier to clean. For example, a spot with tiled floors over a spot that’s carpeted.
- Lay down a work mat or tarp to catch mess that falls on the floor.
- Have kid-sized cleaning tools nearby (and teach the children how to use them).
- Keep wipes nearby if you’re not right next to a sink.
- Teach your students how to care for their classroom. Explain where you want the mess to stay and model your age-appropriate expectations.
- Use trays if possible (most of the gingerbread messy play ideas will work on trays). This helps contain the mess and gives each child their own space.
Do you have any favorite tips for making messy play easier?
Gingerbread Messy Play
Now let’s jump into the messy gingerbread activities! Remember to click on the individual links to read more about each of the ideas.
Related: Winter Messy Play Ideas
- Make some gingerbread butter slime with the kids. A great combination of science and sensory play!
- Use cookie cutters, paint, and spices to make gingerbread man art. This is a page from our Christmas 5 senses book, but it makes a fun standalone art activity, too.
- Gingerbread cloud dough is such a fun (and messy!) way to explore senses with the children.
- Let the kids get creative as they make their own microwave puffy paint gingerbread men!
- And of course we can’t have a list of gingerbread messy play ideas without including a good ol’ fashioned gingerbread sensory bin.
- A toddler gingerbread house is sure to be a messy and fun experience for the kids. And it’s not really just for toddlers!
- Explore science with a dissolving gingerbread man experiment.
- Scented gingerbread man art definitely belongs with these gingerbread messy play ideas!
- Grab a few simple materials to create and play with gingerbread oobleck.
- Work with the kids to make milk carton gingerbread houses using a variety of craft materials.
No it’s time to decide! Which of the gingerbread messy play ideas are you going to try first? Be sure to save this post for future reference.
More Gingerbread Activities
If you and the kids loved all of the gingerbread messy play, here are some more ideas to try:
- Gingerbread Man Shape Mats
- Number Hop with Gingerbread Men
- Gingerbread Dramatic Play
- Printable Gingerbread Man Number Towers
- Gingerbread Man Printable Book
- Giant Gingerbread Man Craft
- Gingerbread Ten Frames
Do you have any favorite gingerbread activities?
Gingerbread Man Lesson Plans
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Click on the image below to grab our gingerbread man lesson plans. They come with a weekly overview, detailed daily plans, whole group lessons, small group activities, center ideas, book suggestions, and related printables.
You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers.