Gingerbread Play Dough Recipe

Here’s a wonderfully easy, beautifully scented gingerbread playdough recipe that takes just minutes to make, makes the house smell so much like Christmas and is a great DIY gift to give to friends!
No-cook gingerbread play dough recipe
2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
(up to) 1.5 cups of boiling water (added gradually until it is right)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
(optional addition) 5 drops of glycerine for extra shine!
Mix all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the oil. Stir in the boiling water and allow to cool briefly. Knead it into a workable dough on a floured surface using your hands. After a few minutes it should be soft and smooth and none should come off on your fingers. If it’s still a little sticky then add more flour, one tablespoon at a time until it’s just right!

 Ideas of ways to play with gingerbread dough:
*  add gingerbread men cookie cutters and rolling pins and pretend to make real gingerbread men and “bake” them in a pretend oven. Role play being bakers and sell them in bakery shop pretend play!
* read the story of The Gingerbread Man alongside the activity and retell the story as you play. Cakie is really into this book at the moment and did some dramatic storytelling as she played!
* set out some buttons and beads and use them to add features to the gingerbread men. We used some buttons from my Mum’s vast collection and it was fun to share with the girls that some of them had come from clothes that had belonged to their great grandmother!

The girls loved making their little gingerbread friends and started a whole production line of them! C made hers be friends and talk to each other, bursting out with the occasional song:
run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!” 
This could make a lovely homemade Christmas gift! Make some for a preschooler and present it in an airtight jar, along with a gingerbread man cookie cutter and the recipe and ideas for play printed onto card, threaded onto ribbon. You could even include a collection of interesting buttons and beads too, to add to the fun!
* Edited to add: Last year we made little jam jars full of this gingerbread play dough, along with a mini gingerbread man cookie cutter, to give to all of Cakie’s classmates at school. They were a big bit with all the children! *
DIY gingerbread play dough gift

Learning Links:
* sensory: explore malleable materials using hands, discuss smells and what they make us think of
* motor skills: small muscle hand development by pushing, squeezing, rolling, flattening and cutting  dough
* literacy: retell stories in the correct sequence using storybook language, identify main characters from stories
* maths: count objects accurately up to 10 and beyond, weighing, measuring and capacity

 Next activity for us is to make some REAL gingerbread men! 


  1. says

    Oh how lovely! I LOVE all your old buttons, how wonderful! And I can just see that all the gingerbread cutting was lots of fun. Mmmh.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty 😉


  2. says

    Thanks all!
    Bernadette, I look forward to seeing yours in your gingerbread week! We are all about the gingerbread man right now too so have a few more things we are doing this next week or so! Be great to be inspired by you x

  3. says

    So cute! We made peppermint glitter play dough for a post that’ll run this coming week. I had a really hard time keeping my kid from eating it! I wouldn’t have normally minded but ours had glitter in it! haha! But yours? He can eat all he wants and I wouldn’t worry! Please consider linking up to my Homemade Christmas linky! People will love your post!

  4. says

    Wow that sounds yummy and fun! What a great idea! I’m also excited about your addition of glycerin to the dough. I’ll definitely have to try that! Thank you for posting!

  5. says

    What a wonderful recipe. We made it for a group of primary girls and added cloves and cinnamon sticks to the buttons for decoration. The moms loved it too!

  6. Anonymous says

    This is a great recipe. I am making the for my daughter’s goody bags!Thank you so much! You are my go-to play dough blog!