Easy-to-Make Holiday Gift: Homemade Gingerbread Play Dough

This DIY play dough smells amazing!

By Sara Yaniga, publisher of Macaroni Kid Chicago Midtown December 9, 2019

This yummy-smelling homemade gingerbread play dough recipe is perfect to get your kids in the holiday spirit this Christmas season. Plus, this gingerbread play dough can be an easy holiday gift that your kids will love to make -- and it's likely you already have all the ingredients in your kitchen!

This gingerbread play dough recipe is simple enough for kids to help with (though of course, you should always help when it comes time to simmer it on the stovetop!) My three-year-old loved measuring and mixing the ingredients right into the saucepan for me.

The recipe below makes about three balls of dough, each about the size of a tennis ball.

Easy Homemade Gingerbread Play Dough

What you need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. 
  2. Keep stirring until the dough changes to a thick lump.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to the touch.
  4. Knead until smooth.
  5. Store in an airtight container.

This recipe is also easily adaptable by swapping out the spices for another smell you love, like vanilla or peppermint, and adding a little food coloring!

My kids received this gingerbread play dough themselves a few years back from a friend, creatively packaged with tiny cookie cutters, googly eyes, and the book "Gingerbread Baby" by Jan Brett. The set provided hours of imaginative and independent play for our children (and yes, even me!) As long as the dough is kept in an airtight container, you can wrap it up any way you like to store or gift.