written by: Elizabeth Wistrom
• edited by: Wendy Finn
• updated: 11/13/2012
A simple Gingerbread Man drawn on a piece of construction paper becomes the vehicle for four fun classroom activities you can share with younger elementary students from prekindergarten to first grade. You can use the sample image we've provided, or use a basic coloring sheet you already have.
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Basic Gingerbread Man Template
To the right, you will find an example of a basic Gingerbread man that you can replicate. All the activities are based on this template. You can print out the image provided, or use one of your own from a coloring sheet or from a baking site. This type of basic template is quite versatile. It can be used as the basis for completing a wide variety of holiday-related projects and activities. Here are four ideas to get you started.
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Share Stories and Create Your Own
The story of the Gingerbread Man's plight is one which captures the imagination, and no one tells it better than famed author and illustrator, Jan Brett.
When you have finished reading the stories, encourage the children to create their own version of the tale. What other adventures might the Gingerbread Man encounter?
By using the template or coloring sheet, you can create the pages for the book. Have the children draw their own illustrations inside of the Gingerbread Man outline, and then also decorate the border areas outside of the Gingerbread Man - just like Jan Brett does when she decorates the borders of her own book pages!
If you make copies onto legal-sized paper, you can also add text lines to the bottom of the coloring sheet, so that the children can write a story to go along with their illustrations. As the children may be too young to write on their own, have them dictate the story to you and classroom assistants or volunteers, as you write it in.
When your stories are complete, add a construction paper cover. You can even use the decorated Gingerbread Man activity described below, Then, staple all the pages together or bind them with ribbon. Have fun sharing the stories throughout the holiday season, or all winter long!
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Decorated Gingerbread Man Activity
While children could have a lot of fun simply coloring their Gingerbread Man, they will have even more fun decorating it! Here are the materials you will need to get you started:
one printed copy of a Gingerbread Man template per child
glue (both regular Elmer's Glue and a glue stick are handy to have)
red hot candies
You may decide to use a basic coloring sheet as is, or photocopy it onto brown construction paper. This is optional. What is also optional is whether you wish for the children to cut out their Gingerbread Man or simply leave him on the sheet with the border surrounding him. Once these decisions have been made, let the kids go at it! They can use all of the supplies above to decorate their Gingerbread Man any way they please! After they have dried, set the Gingerbread Men out for display.
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Create Your Own Holiday Decorations
Another idea is to use the template to make your own holiday garland. Once the garland has been cut, string it around your holiday tree (if you have one), intertwine it with boughs of evergreen garland or simply string it between doorways or windows in your classroom. If you like, each individual Gingerbread Man on the garland chain may be decorated, or you can choose to leave them blank.
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Enjoy a Snack
You can extend the fun by having a Gingerbread Man snack that utilizes the template or coloring sheet as well. Here is what you will need:
one Gingerbread Man template per child
waxed paper, cut to fit the coloring sheet or template
plastic spoon (one per child)
Fruit Loops cereal
Red Hots (optional)
Fruit by the Foot (optional)
Lay the waxed paper over the coloring sheet. You may wish to tape both down to the table so that they do not shift. Show the students how they can use the back of the spoon to spread the pudding onto the waxed paper and "color" their Gingerbread Man. They may then use the cereal and candy pieces to decorate. Once their Gingerbread Man is complete, they can have fun scooping it up and eating the decorations!
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If you have more ideas on how to use Gingerbread Man activities in the classroom, be sure to leave them in the comments section below!
Note: Image of the Gingerbread Man is by the author, Elizabeth Wistrom.