Get creative, and have a tasty treat at the end of this fun children’s activity.
This recipe will make roughly 36 nine-centimetre high gingerbread men.
What you need:
For the gingerbread dough:
- 450g/1lb plain flour.
- 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda.
- Half a teaspoon of salt.
- 1 dessertspoon of ground ginger.
- Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- 110g/4oz of butter.
- 225g/8oz of soft brown sugar.
- 1 teacup of black treacle.
- About 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk.
- Gingerbread man shaped cutter.
- Or scissors and card to make your own gingerbread man template.
- Use dried fruit and/or small sweets.
- Pre-made icing tubes (for decoration).
- Or mix your own icing:
- Icing sugar (see back of pack for instructions).
The activity, step by step:
A. Make the dough:
For younger children, make the dough first and start at step 7. You can prepare the dough the night before and keep it in the fridge.
- Prepare your ingredients. If you’re working with younger children it may be easier to weigh everything beforehand.
- Sift the flower, soda, salt and spices into a mixing bowl.
- Place the butter, sugar and treacle into a saucepan
- Adult: Stir over a gentle heat until it’s all dissolved.
- Adult: Leave to cool a little then add flour with enough evaporated milk to make a firm dough.
- Cool the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes. Why not read the classic story “The Gingerbread Man” while you’re waiting.
- Adult: Set the oven to 325 °F / 170 °C / Gas mark 3
- Lightly grease a few baking trays.
- Roll out the dough to between 0.5 and 1 centimetre thickness.
- Use the cutter to cut out your gingerbread men, or cut a template from a piece of card and use a knife to cut around it.
- Carefully lift the cut shapes onto your greased baking tray.
- Adult: Place the trays into the oven and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
- When cooked allow them to cool before lifting them off the baking trays.
C. Decorate your gingerbread men:
- Use the icing to stick the dried fruit and/or sweets onto your gingerbread men.
- Children can have good fun decorating the gingerbread men as people in different jobs and roles.
- If you have a writing tube and icing, children enjoy using it to draw on the gingerbread men.
And there you have it! And you’re not just limited to gingerbread men. You can make gingerbread Christmas trees, gingerbread Easter treats, gingerbread footballs…
Teaching points – things you can talk about while you’re enjoying this activity:
- What does the mixture look and feel like at the different stages in the process?
- Discuss the different weights and numbers when weighing the ingredients.
- Discuss the colours when decorating.
This childcare activity promotes:
- Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy.
- Communication, language and literacy.
- Knowledge and Understanding of the World.