Gingerbread Cookie Letters

The following activity introduces your child to how to read a recipe and follow directions.

  • Target Age:  3-6 
  • Learning Goals:  letter Identification, letter sounds, word families, social and emotional skills, fine motor skills
  • Related Episode: Hansel and Gretel


Make these gingerbread cookie letters with your child to teach lots of literacy skills: letters of the alphabet, the names and sounds of letters and word writing.


  • 1 cup shortening (or 2 sticks butter)*
  • 1 cup sugar**
  • 2 eggs***
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For healthy alternatives use:
*1 stick butter, 1/2 cup applesauce
**1 cup date sugar or Sucanant
***1 egg and 2 egg whites


  1. Blend together sugar and margarine.
  2. Add the eggs and molasses to the mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  5. Cover and chill about 3 hours or until the dough is easy to handle.
  6. If doing this over 2 days, remove dough from refrigerator 1 hour before children begin to roll it out.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
  8. Using the attached letter cutouts, cut around letters to make letter cookies. Place 1 inch apart onto greased cookie sheets.
  9. With adult supervision, bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks.

Take It Further

Cookie Letter Find! Lay out the whole alphabet in order on a cookie sheet. Say a letter and ask your child to find it and then eat it! Make the game harder by mixing up the letters on the cookie sheet and asking your child to find a letter.

Additional idea: Have your child find all of the letters in their name. See if he/she can put them in the right order.

Cookie Letter Sounds! Point to a letter and ask your child what sound it makes; "what sound does this letter make?" Ask your child to say a word that starts with that sound and then eat the letter!

Say a sound and ask your child to point to the letter that makes that sound. What letter makes the sound /a/? A! /p/? P!

Rhyme with cookie word families! Build words with the gingerbread cookies. Teach your child the power of word families by replacing one letter to make a new word. Build TALL, WALL, BALL, MALL or CAT, RAT, BAT, HAT.

Gingerbread Letter Decorations: you can make your letters into Gingerbread Letter Decorations! Have each child decorate the first letter of their name. Tie an 8-inch string or piece of yarn through the hole on the top of the letter. Have each child hang his or her letter on his/her doorknob.

Talk About It

The theme of the Hansel and Gretel episode was ASK FIRST. Talk with your child about why it is important to ask first. Has anyone ever taken something of his without asking? How did it make him/her feel?

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Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!