‘Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!’
Depending on the age of the children and the size of the class, ‘The Gingerbread Man’ can offer hours of entertaining, and more importantly, educational fun. There are a variety of storybooks available to the classroom teacher, each one slightly different which would provide a number of lessons. To name a few, ‘The Gingerbread Man’ by Brenda Parkes, ‘The Gingerbread Man’ by Jim Aylesworth and another written by Eric Kimmel. Over the course of several days, these can be read and a chart drawn up to show the differences between the three.
For a class that is slightly younger, a series of art and craft activities can be arranged. These can range from drawing their own gingerbread men to just decorating them with the aid of classroom teachers and support staff. Children can also look at their families and create a picture using various different sized gingerbread man biscuit cutters, thus providing a learning environment which could include counting. I have seen classroom teachers use an outline of gingerbread men to help improve numeracy skills to great effect. This also worked with filling in the gingerbread man to look at area.
Using the school or area available to a younger class, you can create a treasure trail for them to follow, allowing them to learn new skills. Place various characters from the story around the area for them to find, until they reach the gingerbread man himself. Make sure that he has left them a nice surprise at the end though; a gingerbread man to eat might be nice.
You could even turn the scheme to PE. Children can race towards the Gingerbread Man to see if they could be the first to catch him! Make sure those children who are not as fast all get a chance to catch him though.
Depending on the time of year other activities can be useful. I feel the best time to complete this scheme would be nearer to Christmas. Children could create a gingerbread house, or a gingerbread man, adding sweets to it every day until they leave for the holidays, which would be a lovely gift to take home for parents. This could be costly however. If funds are an issue, provide children with an outline of a gingerbread house which they could decorate with sweets and glitter, a pastime any child or adult would enjoy.
These are just a few ideas which would fully engage any child in the wonderful world of storytelling and ‘The Gingerbread Man’. Others include the variety of nursery rhymes and poems available online. Create finger puppets and put on a show. Role play always seems to work with a younger group as well. As mentioned earlier, the activities here show what can be done, there are many more ideas which you could think of.