"The Gingerbread Man," is a classic folk tale from long ago. This delightful children's story has been rewritten in books and poems by many authors. New gingerbread characters have been created in picture books as well. The main thread of the story is that a delicious gingerbread man is brought from the oven, immediately becomes the target of hungry characters and must run away quickly. The story sparks many ideas for classroom and individual activities for children.
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Write and copy the gingerbread man story or a shorter version of it. Leave out key picture-words, such as the gingerbread man, the cookie pan, the oven, eggs, raisins, a gate, the woman and the wolf. Draw simple shapes to match the left-out words. Have several pictures of the gingerbread man standing and also running, and other picture-words that repeat in the story. Make copies of that page as well. Have children cut out the shapes. They may help you read the story and place or glue the picture-words in the correct blank places. Use the rebus story as a one-time activity, or an envelope or file folder game. The story and picture cut-outs can also be used as a Bingo-type group game.
Have your group of children make gingerbread ornaments to hang in the classroom throughout the theme's time period or to take home as a holiday ornament. Older children should be able to fold a piece of brown paper in half and cut a freehand shape of half of the gingerbread person. Be sure that they cut the head, arms and legs shape, but leave the fold uncut. Unfold the paper to see the entire gingerbread shape. Have younger children trace a cardboard stencil or a cookie cutter onto brown paper and cut out the gingerbread shape. They may decorate their gingerbreads with craft materials or markers. Consider other materials for the ornaments, like brown bag paper, craft foam, felt or brown sandpaper. Punch a hole in the top of the head and thread a piece of ribbon through to tie for a hanger.
Play games based on a "fast as you can," "run, run," or "can't catch me" theme. Turn a simple tag game into gingerbread tag by having the "it" person place a gingerbread sticker on anyone she tags. Substitute the words, "Bake, Bake, RUN," for a game similar to "Duck, Duck, Goose." Play relay games where teams must stick felt gingerbread shapes onto a felt board in an allotted time. Younger children can play a "Stack the Cookies" race with gingerbread cookies or kitchen sponges that have a gingerman shape taped onto them.
Gingerbread Story Skit Costumes
Paint children's faces and make simple body costumes. Cut a large gingerbread body from posterboard. Attach a ribbon to each shoulder to tie at the back of a child's neck. Have children decorate a brown T-shirt with craft paints. Fold a piece of 2 x 6-foot brown fabric in half to make a 2 x 3-foot costume. Cut a hole to slip the costume over the child's head.
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