One of my most favorite books to read in the early childhood classroom, during the holiday season is The Gingerbread Man. It’s a fun, repetitive story that get’s the children excited. They can easily take part in the re-telling of the story and there is so much you can do surrounding the story. After reading the book over and over, I like to have the children get involved in making some gingerbread men of their own. I’ve tried several recipes but the one I like best is actually on the back of Jim Aylesworth’s lovely rendition of The Gingerbread Man. It’s a simple and easy recipe for children to partake in (I’ve had children as young as two helping me make these and I’m trying it this year with my 16 month old too).
How Do I Involve the Children in the Making of the Gingerbread Men?
First There is Measuring
- I bring all of the ingredients to a large table
- I measure the ingredients out for the children, talking about how much goes into what measuring cup, and
- then I allow each child to help pour in the ingredients and take turns stirring.
Time for Rolling, Stamping and Baking
Then we roll out the dough together and I help them stamp out their gingerbread men. We all take a walk to the kitchen and put them in the oven. We usually enjoyed our baked gingerbread men for a special treat after nap time.
It was a fun, great way to learn about math concepts through holiday baking and of course there are plenty of wonderful reading and language concepts from the story itself as well.
Want more fun ideas for using The Gingerbread Man in the classroom?
- make a flannel board set for children to retell the story in different ways
- go for a gingerbread treasure hunt. For older preschoolers, write out rhyming cards about where the gingerbread man is hiding and hide them around the classroom or give them to certain people (for example, “Run, run, run as fast as you can. I like to draw, I like to write. You can find the next clue in a pencil can” and then the next clue will bring you closer to the gingerbread man). This is great for children who are learning to read or just plain fun for any preschooler.
- make gingerbread smelling playdough.
- set up a playscape for open ended play with gingerbread men.
- set out old, empty spice tins and bakeware for children to use in dramatic play.
- let children paint or color large cut out gingerbread men
- make a gingerbread house for the classroom
- make up new stories involving The Gingerbread Man and other characters from the book.
- read different versions of The Gingerbread Man and talk about the differences you find.