Our Scented Sandpaper Gingerbread Ornaments look great, feel great and smell great too! You can’t go wrong with all the sensory elements that this gingerbread craft offers. It’s a terrific Christmas craft for toddlers and preschoolers. They’ll be so proud to hang their gingerbread man on the Christmas tree this year.
Rough sandpaper, aromatic cinnamon and cloves, smooth, shiny buttons, and soft yarn. This is such a lovely sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers to do during the Christmas season. Not only does it feel great and smell great, this gingerbread ornament provides some great fine-motor skill development too.
Before we made our gingerbread ornaments, I passed 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”. I offered up the word “rough”and I had the children turn the paper over to the smooth side, and we discussed how both sides felt. 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. *I should clarify: ground cloves are actually used when baking gingerbread cookies, but we were using whole cloves for the sake of our activity.
Then, while they finished their snack, I pulled out a blank tracing of a gingerbread cookie, and asked the Hooligans 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.
Then we washed up, headed out to the backyard, and the Hooligans got to work making their scented sandpaper gingerbread ornaments.
They started by rubbing their sandpaper with the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. It smelled so good while they worked away! The spices add some colour to the sandpaper, and of course, now the ornaments are scented with the smell of the holidays!
They all ran off and played for a few minutes while I traced our template on to the sandpaper that the hooligans had rubbed with spices.
Then I cut a gingerbread out of each piece of sand paper.
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. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.