Kids love to decorate gingerbread men, especially during the holidays. Sneak a little math in with the decorating and you'll find that the gingerbread man is an excellent teacher.
In this activity, your child will work on fine motor skills while she helps your roll out the dough and use the cookie cutters. She'll also practice logic and counting with gingerbread cookie shirts and pants. This hands-on activity brings the five senses into play!
What You Do:
- Follow directions for the gingerbread cookie recipe. Refrigerate dough.
- While the dough is in the fridge, read the story of the gingerbread man with your child.
- After you've read the story, spread flour over your working area and rolling pin. You and your child can rub your hands in the flour, too, so the dough won't stick to them!
- Let your little one help roll out the dough and use the gingerbread man cookie cutter.
- With a knife, cut out three tiny shirts and pants. (Remember the pieces get bigger when baked.)
- Bake the men and clothes according to your recipe.
- Put white frosting into three bowls. Add food coloring to make three different colors.
- When the cookies have cooled, frost one shirt and one pair of pants in each color. Your child can decorate them with candy and sprinkles if she'd like!
- Ask your child logic questions such as, “What outfit could the gingerbread man wear first? next? How many different shirts can he wear with those pants? How many different outfits does he have?” She can place the frosted clothes face-up on the gingerbread man to help her.
- When the logic lesson is finished, ask your child to choose the gingerbread man's final outfit! To put it on, spread a layer of frosting on the man and stick the clothes in top. It's time to eat!
If your shirts and pants are too big, then frost the gingerbread man directly, drawing on his clothes with the frosting. You can make several gingerbread men with different colors of clothing and still ask the logic questions. You can also expand this activity with more gingerbread men, outfits, or colors! It's a great way for your child to practice patterns in addition to logic and counting.
Tina Cho has been an elementary teacher for 11 years, mainly in the kindergarten classroom. She is currently a freelance writer.