These Scented Sandpaper Gingerbread Men ornaments are fun and easy for toddlers and preschoolers to make. Rough sandpaper, cinnamon and cloves, soft yarn and smooth shiny buttons provide a lovley sensory experience for little ones.
We have a number of adorable gingerbread man crafts here on the blog, and this is one of my favourites for toddlers and preschoolers. Not only does it feel great and smell great, this gingerbread ornament provides some great fine-motor skill development too.
You may also like 10 Fun and Easy Christmas Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers.
Exploring the materials
Before we made our ornaments, I set out a few sheets of sandpaper for the children to explore.
I asked them to rub their hands on the sandpaper, and to think of words that described the way the paper felt. They used words like “pokey” and “lumpy” and scratchy” and “rough”. I had the children turn the paper over to the smooth side, we did the same. One hooligan observed that “rough is the opposite of smooth”. I love those lightbulb learning moments.
Next, I showed the kids a gingerbread shape that I’d traced on paper, and asked if anyone knew what it was. Oh, yes, they all knew that it was a gingerbread man. So then I asked them “What makes a gingerbread cookie smell so good?”
They weren’t too sure, so I passed around some cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and whole nutmeg and everyone felt them and smelled them.
Next, I traced the cookie cutter on to a piece of paper to make a template, and asked the children what we would have to add to turn the tracing into a gingerbread man. As they called out “eyes”, “buttons”, “mouth” etc., I drew them on to the template.
Click here to print our template.
Then we headed to the craft table in the backyard, and the Hooligans got to work making their scented sandpaper gingerbread ornaments.
- cinnamon sticks
- whole cloves and nutmeg
- gingerbread man cookie cutter
How to Make a Scented Sandpaper Gingerbread Ornament
- Rub Spices on Sandpaper
The kids started by rubbing the whole spices on a sheet of sand paper. It smelled so good while they worked! The spices add some colour to the sandpaper too.
- Trace and Cut
Then I traced the paper gingerbread man template on their scented sandpaper and cut them out.
Next, the hooligans decorated their sand paper gingerbread men with googly eyes and yarn. We used coloured yarn for the bows on our gingerbread men and white yarn for the “icing” on their arms and legs.
Aren’t they adorable?
I hope you try this activity with your kids. Not only is it a wonderful treat for the senses, you end up with a super-cute homemade ornament to hang on your tree!
More gingerbread crafts for kids:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Pure genius! This may be the greatest craft I have ever seen!
This was the first comment I woke up to this morning, Melissa! What a wonderful way to start my day!
so awesome – I love your site it is so inspiring!
Thank you! I’m so glad that our ideas are inspiring you! x
Thank you for another super thrifty activity, just added it to my December activities list!!!! x
So glad you liked it, Emma! Have fun!
I don’t run a day home – but I do have two (of my own Hooligans) under the age of 4. I came across your website at Topblogs.ca. My website is also listed there but for a different audience:) I am so glad to have come across your blog! Great craft ideas I can try at home for the inevitable cold days ahead that we have here in Canada!
I’m so glad you found us, Sally! And I’m happy that you’ll be following along with us for ideas to keep your kiddos busy this winter! Welcome! 🙂
so cute! i love them!! can’t wait to do them with my class! 🙂
What kind of glue did the kids use? Love this idea!
Fantastic perhaps you could make a lot and make bunting 😀
Hi there! I love this idea for my sons holiday party craft. What did you use to glue the eyes, bows on? Elmers?
Yes, any white or clear school glue should work. 🙂