- Before Reading:
- Check for prior knowledge - ask if children have ever made gingerbread houses or cookies.
- During Reading:
- Discuss Jan Brett's use of borders and predictable pictures (pictures along the border give clues about characters and events that will happen on the next page).
- After Reading:
- Draw a Venn diagram comparing different versions of the gingerbread story.
- Dramatize the story using character masks from Jan Brett.
- Give the children parts to chant during the story (ex. "Run, run, as fast as you can...")
Map a New Adventure! Each version of the gingerbread man story has a different set of places that the cookie runs through. As a class, design a map of one of the gingerbread story on chart paper. Draw the places that the gingerbread man travels to and arrows showing the direction he traveled. Pass out blank paper and have your students design a new adventure for the gingerbread man. He can travel anywhere - space, the zoo, the beach, etc. You can take this activity a step further and use this map as a graphic organizer for writing a new adventure.
Body Tracing: Trace children's bodies on brown bulletin board paper and use art supplies to decorate.
Gingerbread Cut Out Project: Give students paper and let them create their own gingerbread men. Instruct your children on what each piece is for and let them create. You can guide this project as much as you like or let them free create. You need these materials and paper cut in the following measurements and colors:
- 2 large google eyes per child (or you can have children draw them)
- 1 1x1 inch red square - nose
- 3 1x1 inch green squares - buttons (or you can use real buttons)
- 1 9x6 inch brown paper (1/2 sheet of construction paper) - body
- 4 3x4.5 inch brown paper (1/4 sheet of construction paper) - arms and legs
- 1 4x4 inch piece of brown paper - head
- Optional: white paint for the edges (frosting)
- New Ending: Write a new ending to the gingerbread man story. In many versions of The Gingerbread Man, the cookie gets eaten by a fox. Ask your students to write a new ending to the story.
- Venn Diagram: Draw a venn diagram and compare/contrast two different versions of the gingerbread story.
- Letter: Write letters to the Gingerbread Man and encourage the children to ask questions. The Gingerbread Man can "answer back".
- Recipe Writing: Write a recipe for gingerbread with your children. This can be done before you bake gingerbread as a brainstorming activity or after baking gingerbread as a recall activity.
- What part did you eat first? After making cookies with your children, ask them to take one bite out of their cookie. Give each child a paper cut out of a gingerbread man and ask them to cut off the piece of the cookie that they bit off. Graph the gingerbread men on chart paper to show which part students ate first.
- Which story did you like best? Vote for your favorite version of the gingerbread story.
Gingerbread Baking Sequencing: Copy the printable cards below and have children sequence them as part of a center or as an independent activity. COMING SOON!
- Printable Gingerbread Baking Sequence Cards - (.pdf format)
Gingerbread Man Hunt: When my class makes gingerbread men at school, we use the leftover dough to make a large gingerbread man (the size of a cookie sheet). While the children are out of the classroom, hide the gingerbread man and leave notes around the school (you'll probably need an accomplice). To further convince your students about the chase, have your accomplice spray cinnamon air freshner in the areas where you place your notes. You can also drop candies or flour along the way. I made gingerbread man pins for my students by using prepainted wooden cutouts from Michaels (49 cents each) and glued pins to the back of them - the children thought the gingerbread man left them a present. :o)
Here are some of the poems I use for our hunt around the school.
Poem Left in the Classroom
I've left my friends for you to snack,
But I'll bet you'll never get me back!
Look for me where there are lots of books!
I've read lots of books,
But I'm gone, can't you see?
I'm a gingerbread man and you can't catch me!
Look for me by a friendly face who answers phones in a busy place.
The secretaries have a friendly face,
And answer phones in a busy place.
Find me by the leader(s) of our school.
These are the principal's offices.
They're nice, you know.
They told me not to run anymore,
But to walk, wherever I go.
Go find me where we eat together.
This is the lunchroom.
These friends like us a bunch,
And always make sure we have a good lunch.
I'm getting a bit tired as you can see,
Room ___ is where I'll be!
I've run and run and I need some rest.
I think this room is the best!
Family Gingerbread House Project: Invite parents to come to school and build gingerbread houses with their child. Before the special day, ask each child to send in one box of graham crackers, one container of white frosting, and one bag of candy. Also, ask for donated items such as styrofoam plates (sturdy for transport), aluminum foil (for wrapping and sending home), paper towels, and newspapers (to line tables)
Songs and Poems
Up, Down, Fast, Slow
(from Mailbox Magazine)
Gingerbread, gingerbread, reach up high.
See if you can touch the sky.
Gingerbread, gingerbread, ready to go?
See if you can crouch down low.
Gingerbread, gingerbread, oh so sweet,
Take a bow and have a seat.
Gingerbread, gingerbread, in a crowd,
Clap your hands very loud.
Gingerbread, gingerbread, quietly clap,
Now fold your hands in your lap.
(from Mailbox Magazine)
Oh, Gingerbread Man, can you see,
The shiny lights on the Christmas tree?
Oh, Gingerbread Man, can you hear,
Silvery sleigh bells ringing near?
Oh, Gingerbread Man, can you sniff,
Goodies that are baking? Take a whiff!
Oh, Gingerbread Man, can you feel,
Santa's beard? Is it real?
Oh, Gingerbread Man, your sense are so fine.
Will you help me work on mine? Yum!
Catch Him if You Can!
(tune: "Pop Goes the Weasel")
Who can catch the Gingerbread Man?
Catch him if you can.
I said catch him said the _______.
But away he ran.
*Fill in the blank space with names of characters in the story or use children's names.
Gingerbread Dough (for cookies)
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 pkg. instant butterscotch pudding mix
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Mix together egg, shortening, and brown sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Roll out dough and cut into gingerbread men shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Decorate using favorite frosting and candies.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup salt,
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar,
- 1 cup water,
- 1 tsp. veg. oil
- spice (cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, etc.)
Mix the dry ingredients. Add spice untill you get the desired scent. Mix water and oil together first. Add them to the dry ingredients and stir. In a pot, cook the mixture on the stove on low heat for2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and clump together. Take the dough out of the pan and knead the dough until it becomes soft and smooth. Allow to cool and store in an air tight container.
Gingerbread House Snack
- 1 slice of bread per student
- peanut butter or frosting
- candies to decorate
- house cookie cutter
Cut each slice of bread with the house cookie cutter. Spread peanut butter or frosting on the house and decorate with candies.
Gingerbread Bath Salts - recipe from Mailbox Magazine
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1 tsp. cloves
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 box of baking soda
Mix ingredients and place into a jar or plastic bag. Attach a decorative tag and send home as a gift.
Non-Edible Cinnamon Dough - (for making ornaments) from Allrecipes.com
- 3/4 cup of applesauce
- 4 ounces of cinnamon
Mix the applesauce and cinnamon to form a stiff dough. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and make a hole for ribbon. Carefully place cookies on a rack to dry. Let air dry for several days, turning occasionally. Decorate.
Gingerbread Man Unit Resources