This one is for Librarians, teachers, and for at-home fun.
Once we take our Christmas decorations down here at the library (and at home) and it’s not snowy outside, and it’s not quite time for Valentine’s Day, I get a little depressed. It’s a weird in-between-theme time. We do lots of snow stories and hope for snow, but sometimes you need something else and that’s when I turn to GINGERBREAD!
You may think gingerbread is for the holidays, but you’re wrong! We had a Gingerbread Party this past week and it had nothing to do with holidays. We had about 40 children show up and it was a ton of fun. This year Mrs. Janson planned the party. I did one in the past that I will share after I share her program.
Here’s what we did:
Gingerbread Stories: We read 3 of our gingerbread stories:
Maisy Makes Gingerbread by Lucy Cousins
The Baby Blue Cat and the Whole Batch of Cookies by Ainslie Pryor
Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
Then, we decorated gingerbread cookies. We bought a bunch of the Pepperidge Farm Gingermen cookies. They look like this:
Then, we made little baggies of goodies including mini-marshmallows, licorice whips, m&m’s, and pretzels.
We handed out a cookie, a bag of goodies, and a hunk of frosting to each child on a paper plate and let them decorate (and eat) whatever they wanted.
What we’ve done in the past has been a little less tasty. It works better with older preschoolers. We started off by decorating giant paper gingerbread men. We used glitter, sequins, pom poms, and whatever else we found in the cabinet. We laid them out to dry and went to another room to hear gingerbread stories. Then, when we were done with story time, I sent the children back to pick up their men and they were missing! We had another librarian hide the gingerbread men and leave little notes that sent the children on a scavenger hunt around the library. We used simple clues that led them to places like the fish tank and the front desk. They had a ton of fun! You could easily do this around the house- set up the hunt during nap time if you want to stay secretive.
Of course if you are at home, you could make your own gingerbread. Here’s a really easy recipe for you. Remember that baking with young children is a great way to get some pre-math skills into their day! Measuring, counting, and timing things are important. Also, fine motor skills are developed through stirring, pouring, and rolling.
More Gingerbread and cookie stories:
Ahlberg, Allan. Previously (I love this story- it connects a whole bunch of fairy tales!)
Aylesworth, Jim. The Gingerbread Man
Brett, Jan. The Gingerbread Baby
De Las Casas, Diane. The Cajun Cornbread: A Well Loved Tale Spiced Up (Cajun version of the gingerbread boy)
Hillert, Margaret. The Cookie House
Cookie Rhymes and Fingerplays (remember even if you are not in a school or library setting, rhymes and fingerplays are important to do with babies and toddlers to help develop their language, vocabulary, fine motor skills, and early literacy (pre-reading) skills.
Five Little Gingerbread Men
Make felt gingerbread men to go along with the song. Make them from gingerbread colored felt & cut them large. Create faces and hats and collared vests with buttons- all painted on with slick paint that squeezes from a bottle. Kids LOVE this song.
Five little gingerbread men in a row
(Hold up five fingers, waving back & forth)
Not gonna’ eat one no, no, no.
(shake finger and head side to side)
But they look so sweet from head to toe
(hand binoculars at eyes touch head thentoes)
Crunch, munch… uh oh!
(slap thighs on crunch, clap hands on munch, then put hands over mouth on uh oh)
No little gingerbread men in a row
Wasn’t gonna’ eat one, no, no, no
But they looked so sweet that it’s sad to tell
(binoculars on sweet, then index fingers run down cheeks to represent tears on sad) Crunch..munch… oh well!
(slap thighs once, clap once, then throw hands up and shrug shoulders)
Hope this helps your house or library smell like gingerbread this winter and beat the holiday blues!