I love incorporating a gingerbread man theme into my winter planning for preschool. I start off reading many different versions of the story to the kiddos. This gives them an introduction to the story, and it allows us to compare the different versions. The students have fun listening to the different stories, and they really enjoy reading along with us. Here are more ways I’ve incorporated gingerbread man fun into early childhood centers!
Preschool Gingerbread Man Theme
Growing in Pre-K’s “Clear the Cookie Sheet” Game
As with any games involving dice, the kids loved playing this. It also helped give them more background knowledge about subtraction, as they had to remove the correct number of gingerbread.
For free arts and crafts, the students decorated foam gingerbread people. They used brown foam shaped like gingerbread men, glue, buttons, and ribbon to make their own versions. Some made simple versions, others loaded the gingerbread people with tons of items, and one of the kiddos even made a pirate gingerbread man!
Act it Out
In the home center, the boys and girls acted out the story of the gingerbread man. There were mixing bowls, utensils, cookie sheets, cookie cutters, foam gingerbread men, and foam “icing” shapes for them to use. Some of them preferred to “decorate” the cookies, while others were more interested in going through the story line.
Build Gingerbread Houses
In the building area, the kids used blocks to make gingerbread homes. Some used the really large blocks to make life-size gingerbread houses! Others used the small blocks to make “a Gingerbread New York City!” They were tickled to find some wooden people in with the blocks that looked an awful lot like mini gingerbread men.
Paint a Gingerbread Person
The kiddos free-painted gingerbread men and women at the art center. It’s always fun to see the different kinds of gingerbread men the kids paint. There are usually some abstract versions, overly decorated gingerbread, and very detailed types.
Gingerbread Man and Book-Making
I love making books with my students, and this book is a fun take on the gingerbread man story. The children seemed to get into the story, and their bookmarks/pointers were quite interesting.
In the discovery center (aka the sensory table), the children had gingerbread dough mix that had been combined with flour. They loved the smell of it, and many of them really enjoyed the tactile nature of the mix. It was, obviously, a very messy center! The kids also had gingerbread play dough in the discovery center later on in the week. It was a huge hit!
Gingerbread House Art
The children enjoyed using a large piece of chart paper to create and decorate their own gingerbread house. They may have been overly enthusiastic with their creation, but they had a blast with it! The spent almost an hour designing the house and talking about what the gingerbread family would do in the house!
Decorate Cookies or Houses
Letting the children decorate gingerbread cookies or gingerbread houses is something that always goes over well with my students. This past year, we focused on making cookies with the kids. We then used icing, sprinkles, and a few other candy bits to decorate the cookies with. I’ve also decorated gingerbread houses with my students. This was fun, too, but didn’t give them the immediate snack that cookies did.
Gingerbread Man Hunt
If we’re making cookies together, it is SO FUN to set up a “hunt” for the children to complete. The cookies mysteriously disappear from the oven, leaving the children written clues all around the school. The other teachers help us out, guiding the children to the notes and encouraging their detective skills. It’s always a blast to see them discover the runaway cookies.
If you’d like more ideas for an early childhood gingerbread man theme, as well as book suggestions, please check out my Gingerbread Man board on Pinterest. We used a recipe Mary Poppins had to make our gingerbread play dough, but I have other recipe ideas pinned there. What do you like to include in your gingerbread man theme?