Inside: These free printable gingerbread playdough mats provide a playful experience with sequencing, a valuable early literacy skill.
Every year at the holidays we make gingerbread playdough here – it’s turned into a tradition at my house. I adore the seasonal scent, and my kids like the excuse to play with something they would otherwise consider themselves too old for these days.
I made up the batch pictured here to try out the two new gingerbread playdough mats I made for you.
(FYI, it turns out that doubling the food coloring makes it a nicer color for these mats.)
Of course, you could also just use store bought playdough. However, be warned that it is hard to buy just brown. It generally comes in a multi-color pack.
Gingerbread Playdough Mats
I set out to make you some playdough mats for my gingerbread dough, and of course I wanted to make them educational.
I know a lot of teachers plan a unit focused on different versions of Gingerbread Man books this time of year.
The Gingerbread Man is an ideal story for teaching story sequencing. Similarly, following steps to bake gingerbread men also helps children understand that events sometimes need to take place in a specific order.
Why Teach Sequencing?
Being able to sequence the events of a story is an important early literacy skill. It helps children retell stories, and builds a foundation for writing summaries and determining theme later on in school.
Most importantly, a child who can retell a story probably understands that story.
Following informational texts like recipes and how-to guides is the nonfiction sister of this skill.
In preschool and kindergarten, children learn how to recount the important details of an informational text. They may need support and prompting, though.
That’s where these playdough mats come in.
Gingerbread Playdough Mats, Step-by-Step
So, I made you two mats. The first one lists the steps numerically.
I tried to keep the words and pictures simple enough for a beginning reader to follow. I think a pre-reader could also “read” these after you read it to them.
The other gingerbread playdough mat has the steps going clockwise around the perimeter of the mat.
It has a nice blank work area in the middle. Each of the steps is in its own box, so all children will be able to “read” or read the step.
To grab your copy, click on the blue Books and Giggles rectangle at the very bottom of this post.
Extend the Activity
In addition to providing playdough to use with these mats, you might also like to set out some of these supplies:
- Small rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Buttons or mini-erasers for decorating
- Toy food, such as butter and eggs
- Toy mixing bowl and spoon
- Toy baking sheet, or some cardboard wrapped in foil like we used for these play cookies
- Depending on your setup and the number of children you have, you may also want to let the kids use a play kitchen to “bake” their cookies
You might also like to bake real gingerbread cookies together! I looked around at a few recipes and I like this one because a) it more or less follows the ingredients and steps on the playdough mats (you can talk about the differences), and b) it is milder and simpler than other recipes.
More Gingerbread Activities
If you’re looking for more to do with a gingerbread theme, you might like this cinnamon gingerbread ornament craft.
If you’re looking for additional educational activities, I have several in my store. These Gingerbread Man sequencing hats have been popular, and children love them.
You might also like my new digital Gingerbread Alphabet Boom™ Card Activities. I’m really excited about these because they have a fun digital spinner in them!
Finally, you also may appreciate this differentiated set of Gingerbread Man Emergent Readers. It includes 3 different levels so that you can find one for every student.
Keep scrolling for your free printable. Or pause and pin this post for later: