One of the best ways to teach reading comprehension and literacy skills to children too young to read is by teaching them fairytales. Fairytales are often easy to tell orally, there are many versions of the stories and there is often repetition that allows young children to engage and recall the story more easily. Celebrate Christmas while teaching literacy with these engaging gingerbread activities that are great for classroom Christmas parties or fun activities for homeschooled children!
1. Gingerbread Playdough
There are lots of good gingerbread playdough recipes online. This is one of my favorites HERE. The allspice is what makes it smell so good! Give your students gingerbread playdough and some cookie cutters and let them make their own gingerbread men!
2. Compare and Contrast Gingerbread Stories
There are so many versions of the stories, but here is a quick booklist of a few different versions:
Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
How to catch a Gingerbread Man by Adam Wallace
Senorita Gordita by Helen Ketteman
Read the stories and discuss the similarities and differences between the different versions.
3. Life Size Gingerbread Man
Using butcher paper, construction paper or cardboard create a lifesize gingerbread man. My son loved getting his body traced. I gave him paper cutouts that he glued to the cardboard. You can cut out the tracing afterward and use it as a fun Christmas decoration.
4. Gingerbread Stamps
Pick out a few cookie cutters that can get messy. Give students paper, cookie cutters, and a plate with paint. Let them create cookie shapes on paper by using the cookie cutters as stamps.
5. Gingerbread Paper Cutouts:
Using a Cricut or old-fashioned scissors, cut plain gingerbread men out of brown paper. Give students markers and jewel stickers and let them decorate their own cookies.
6. Cookie Decorating Playdough Mats
You can purchase these playdough mats HERE or create your own using cookie shapes or pictures. Give students colorful playdough to use as the frosting and decorate their own cookies. You could also give them beads to use as pretend candy and sprinkles to add to their cookies.
7. Read, “The Gingerbread Baby” by Jan Brett and Make Gingerbread Houses
This cute story has a happy ending (unlike many versions of the Gingerbread Man). Read it with your students and then create a gingerbread house that would entice a gingerbread man to rest from his running. This is a fun one that we bought, but you can make houses out of graham crackers.
8. Story-Telling Puppets
Have students create the characters from the gingerbread story using paper bags, drawings, or coloring pages. For younger children, the adult can print out pictures and tell the story orally to the students. Then the students can take turns being the different characters. Older children can tell the story on their own after creating their own characters.
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