I am all about holiday spirit… and I LOVE when my love for the holidays corresponds to tons of valuable and fun activities for my students. Enter… Gingerbread theme!
I’ve written before about how much I love tying themes into learning, and this time of year is no different.
There are tons of different ways to incorporate a fun gingerbread theme in your classroom and still get lots of learning and skill work done!
Here are 8 of my favorites:
This is a wonderful sequencing or procedural writing task depending on how you plan to use it. There are picture cards, vocabulary cards, sequence and write, and even an opinion prompt at the end. This is tons of fun, especially if you’re able to have students actually bake or decorate real cookies at the end! Even if they have to take them home, I put together little Gingerbread on the Go bags like this last year.
Gingerbread Play Dough
I LOVE that homemade playdough is pretty easy to make, inexpensive, and the students LOVE IT! You can use it to practice so many skills (form letters, numbers, words, shapes), and it also works those hand muscles for a little fine motor practice. Not to mention it feels good and gives some nice sensory input.
You can even make a gingerbread buffet (this is my favorite) where students can use cookie cutters, and then decorate with beads, googly eyes, pipe cleaners etc. You could even have a listening activity where you give directions step by step and see how the students follow them to create the gingerbread cookie! For older children, they can even draw (or snap a picture) and describe their dough person (I’ve got a free template for that here)
My favorite dough recipe is:
1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cream Of Tartar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Veggie oil
1 Cup water
Put it all in a saucepan, let the pan heat up and then stir. Keep on stirring and trust the process! It will form a nice ball of dough. You can add your food coloring at the beginning as well, as long as things like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger! I have also used similar essential oils along with some brown food coloring.
Retell favorite gingerbread stories by making a retelling mat and going through the basic sequence of the story! This story is very sequential and has pretty clear story parts, so this is a great opportunity to practice this beginning literacy comprehension skill. (The print and go resource for retelling mat and summary writing is here!)
Create a structure to get the gingerbread person across the river!
Put out a number of materials for students to try to get their gingerbread person across the “river”. Then try them out and give students the opportunity to observe and make adjustments to try again. Some of our favorite materials to use are foil, popsicle sticks, marshmallows, tape, pipe cleaners, ribbon, bow, anything that you can think of! (The print and go planning and response materials for this project are here:
I list this one here before it’s perfect to do after completing the STEM activity! Often times students will write in their new endings about how the gingerbread person built a structure (they can usually describe this is great detail because they’ve just had the hands on practice), to avoid the pesky fox.
These fun spinners are a great way to practice number identification, or basic math facts! Different spinners and different recording sheets for this one make differentiation easy! If you have time to make your own you can, or you could purchase the ones I’ve made for you here!
Gingerbread House – Cardboard Box Project-
This one is awesome because it can be done in the classroom in groups, or as a home family project. Students can use materials and then either write about or complete a graphic project for the amount/ number of different materials used to complete the project! Ready made resources coming soon!
This one is great to do alongside the cardboard box project, but could also be done just with the included materials! Students brainstorm and then create the floor plan for a gingerbread house. There are a few different options for the floor plan layout and there are even rubrics and examples included. It’s a creative way to practice this basic math skill! If your students aren’t ready for the area and perimeter version, there are pages included just for area where students could simply count the squares that make up each room.
If you’re just looking for all the gingerbread fun stuff shown here and you like a good deal, I’ve bundled all these activities together at a discount here for you!
Which one of these activities are you most likely to try with your child or students?