Reading Jan Brett and making our own gingerbread playdough

The bloggers of the Virtual Book Club are celebrating the works of Jan Brett this month and my class enjoyed her beautifully illustrated book titled “Gingerbread Friends” then dove right in to make a terrific smelling batch of gingerbread playdough….

Reading books by Jan Brett and making gingerbread playdough by Teach Preschool

The book “Gingerbread Friends” by Jan Brett is about a gingerbread man who leaves home in search of new friends.  He isn’t all that successful in making new friends which my students wondered about often through out the book…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

Most of the other characters the Gingerbread man met in the book couldn’t talk to him so in the end, he comes back home and there he finds all his friends are waiting for him after all…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

After reading the book, we went to the table to make our very own gingerbread playdough…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

Here were our ingredients…

  1. One cup of flour (to start with)
  2. One cup of salt
  3. Two Tablespoons of Oil
  4. Two Tablespoons of Cream of Tartar
  5. One and a Half Cups of Boiling Water  (added by me)
  6. Then One Cup of Flour (added later)
  7. And different spices including ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon (also added later)
  8. No coloring needed

The children started by mixing together all of the ingredients (number 1 – 4) above…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

Next, I added the boiling water to the bowl then stirred it a minute so it cooled down just a bit.  The playdough was still very runny at this point because we only used half of the required flour.  Then we began adding just a bit more flour until the dough started to stiffen up and we put flour on the table for each child to knead both their spices and more flour into their dough until it was more like playdough texture should be…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

By waiting to add the seasonings and the rest of the flour on the table, the children were easily able to mix the spices throughout the dough. This was part of the fun. The children added pretty much as much of the seasonings as they liked and chose to use any seasoning they wished from the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

I happen to have a lot of seasoning on hand from last year and from pumpkin pies we made in October so the children could add as much as they wanted to their ball of playdough.  Some of the children added just a little while just a couple of the children really loaded the seasoning on…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

While the children added their seasonings we talked about how each seasoning smelled and which smell they liked or didn’t like…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

The children continued to knead their dough until it was not sticky and it could be formed into a playdough like ball.  Once the playdough was firm and ready for play, the children rinsed off their hands and began to play…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

We brought the playdough out for three different days of play…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

And each time the children played with the playdough, we added new materials to their play…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

The playdough wasn’t quite stiff enough to keep around for very long but the smell of the seasonings was wonderful. Our classroom smelled amazing for a week!

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

The children loved the smell and the texture.  The playdough was smooth as silk and some of the children wanted to make a gingerbread man but most of the children just wanted to enjoy the sensorial experience…

"Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett and Gingerbread Playdough

Don’t go away!

Check out the linky below to see all the other Jan Brett books and activities from my fellow bloggers!


And don’t forget – Up and coming authors that will be shared in the Virtual Book Club include the following…

  • January 21st-David McPhail
  • February 18th-Dr. Seuss
  • March 18th-Julia Donaldson
  • April 15th-David Shannon
  • May 20th-Leo Lionni
  • June 17th-Gail Gibbons
  • July 15th- Jez Alborough
  • August 19th-Donald Crews

Available on Amazon

To see more ideas from the other participating Virtual Book Club bloggers just check out the blog hop below! Remember, if you are viewing this post by email or in a RSS Reader, you may need to click on the title of this post to view the blog hop  by actually coming to my blog and viewing it at the end of this post.

Participating Bloggers

Toddler ApprovedMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasRainy Day MumReading ConfettiInspiration LaboratoriesPlay Dr. MomMommy and Me Book ClubKitchen Counter ChroniclesTwo Big Two LittleCreative Connections for KidsThe Golden GleamJuggling with KidsTaming the GoblinCrafty Moms ShareReady Set Read 2 MeFamiglia and SeoulThe Good Long RoadThe Educator’s Spin On ItImagination Soup3 DinosaursRoyal BalooBeing A ConsciousParentNo Twiddle TwaddleCrayon FrecklesThe Pleasantest ThingAdventures in Reading with KidsSmile, Play, LearnCreekside LearningOur Feminist Playschool, and Teach Preschool!

Jan Brett Virtual Book Club Blog Hop

There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Jan Brett that share children’s book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club button to your post if you’d like.


Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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