Preschool: Gingerbread

I just love the holiday season with little ones at home. Every year we make a gingerbread house together, and yes I totally buy the store bought kit, because frankly no one is eating that thing anyways, right?...Well except for handfuls of candy while decorating of course :) This week was full of all kinds of gingerbread themed learning and fun!
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Here were our plans for our Gingerbread theme:

And here are the details for each activity:
 Gingerbread Baby Retelling:
Our first story was Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. We started by reading the story.  After reading I gave Madelynn 7 pictures from the story with simple sentences underneath. We read through them all together and then I prompted her to find what happened first, second, third, etc. She then glued them to her page in the correct order to retell the story.
Gingerbread Man Characters:
Our next story was The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt. Before reading we discussed and defined characters. 
“A character is a person or animal that does things in the story.” 
After reading, I printed the Gingerbread Man characters response page. Madelynn drew and labeled the characters in the story then circled the main character. Most gingerbread stories are great for identifying characters because it is fun to remember all of the animals and people that chase the gingerbread man and the main character is easily identifiable.
  Gingerbread Girl Retelling:
Our next story was The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst. We started by reading the story.  After reading I gave Madelynn 7 pictures from the story with simple sentences underneath just like we did with Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. We read through them all together and then I prompted her to find what happened first, second, third, etc. She then glued them to her page in the correct order to retell the story.
Making Predictions:
Our next story was Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires. Before reading, we practiced answering questions and making predictions.

I asked "After looking at the cover, what do you think this story will be about?" 
Madelynn: "A gingerbread cowboy." 
Then I asked: "What do you think he will do?" 
Madelynn: "Run away from all the hungry characters."

She is still making very basic predictions initially, but I love that she is starting to use the vocabulary that we have been talking about each week, like characters.
 Tracking Print:
Our last book was the letter G book from Abby's Alphabet Book Series. Madelynn identified the picture then pointed to each word as she read. She has caught on to the pattern in these one word per page books, so she is completely independent with them at this point.
Gingerbread Salt Tray:
Our first literacy activity this week was a gingerbread themed salt tray.  To make this fun gingerbread scented salt I mixed 1/2 cup salt with 1 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.Madelynn used gingerbread man letter cards as a model and chose which ones she wanted to practice.  To add a bit more fun, we used gumdrops on toothpicks for writing letters too.
Gingerbread Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make a G. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase g's in the gingerbread man, stamp them and make the "G" sound each time.  We also talked about how G makes 2 sounds. Soft G says /j/ like "gingerbread" and hard G says /g/ like "girl."
Baking Gingerbread Rhymes:
This week we focused on rhyme again. First I printed gingerbread cookies with rhyming pictures on them and then taped labels onto cookie sheets. Madelynn used a spatula to choose a cookie and identify the picture. Then she found the baking sheet with a rhyming picture at the top and added it to that pan. I chose words with the same ending sounds but different rimes (bat and jet, lip and hop) for a bit more of a challenge this time.  If your kiddos aren't ready for that challenge you could start with just 2 rhymes to make it a bit easier then do the other 2 afterwards.
Gingerbread House Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created this super cute gingerbread house.  First Madelynn cut the house and decorations out. Then she traced the letters in her name on each gumdrop. After she finished writing, she glued the gingerbread house pieces together and added the gumdrops to the roof in order to spell her name. To finish off the house she added the rest of the decorations and used crayons/markers to make the candy cane stripes and window panes.
Gingerbread Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw and label a gingerbread house. She also added a little gingerbread girl for her house.  I encouraged her to label each item so she wrote H and W for house.
Hot Cocoa Count and Color:
To continue working on counting and identifying numbers, Madelynn worked on this color by code activity. Madelynn counted the dots then had to follow the directions to make each spot the correct color.  Now that we've been doing these activities for a few weeks we moved onto 6-10 dots in each area.
Roll & Count Gingerbread House:
Like most kids, Madelynn of course loves any learning activities that involve food. She started out with an empty gingerbread house. Then she rolled 1 or 2 dice and counted the dots to identify the number.  After that she counted out the correct number of candy pieces and used them to decorate the gingerbread house. She repeated this many times until the house was completely decorated.
Gingerbread Counting Cookies:
This game was really easy to prep and fun to play.  To prep, I printed numbered gingerbread boys, then set out brown play dough, a rolling pin, a mini gingerbread boy cutter, and a baking sheet. Madelynn chose a card and identified the number.  Then she rolled out brown playdough, used a mini gingerbread man cookie cutter to make the correct number of cut outs and put them on a baking sheet.  We repeated with each gingerbread boy number card with numbers 1-10 to fill the entire baking sheet.
Count and Build Gumdrops:
For another easy number identification and counting game, I set up this count and build gumdrop activity. I printed a gingerbread spinner with numbers 1-10, laminated it, and added a a brass fastener and paperclip for the spinner. Madelynn gave the spinner a spin and identified the number.
Then she counted out that number of gumdrops and used toothpicks to build a gumdrop house. Wwe repeated until her house was complete. While building we talked about the different shapes she was making and any patterns we saw.
 Gingerbread Number Mats:
We used these mats for LOTS of math practice this week. First, Madelynn identified the large number. Then she made it with play dough and counted the buttons in the ten frame. Next, she used a dry erase marker to practice writing the number, and finally counted out buttons to make the correct amount.
Gingerbread Baking Sensory Bin:
In this bin: gingerbread cloud dough (8 cups flour & 1 cup vegetable oil mixed together + 3T each allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger), spoons, cups, gingerbread cookie cutters, pans and rolling pins
Gingerbread Face Plate:
This project turned out so ute and was even easy enough for my 19 month old to join in.  First I cut brown tissue paper into squares, printed gingerbread face cut outs on colored cardstock, and
mixed 1/4 cup white glue and 1/4 cup water together. Madelynn used watered down glue to paint a paper plate. Then she stuck brown tissue paper squares to the glue and painted over them with more watered down glue.  We allowed the plate to dry then glued white string around the rim of the plate for icing and red string for a mouth. Finally we finished it off with the paper shapes for eyes and a bow.
Build a Boat for the Gingerbread Man:
Our science activity this week was a simple STEM activity. I set up a tray with a gingerbread boy, aluminum foil rectangles, straws, pipe cleaners, and rubber bands. Then I filled a small bin with water. Madelynn used the materials to build a boat for the gingerbread boy so he didn’t get eaten by the fox.
Gingerbread Puffy Paint:
For this craft I made a batch of puffy paint, by mixing equal parts of shaving cream and white glue. Then I added brown food coloring, a few drops at a time until I got a nice gingerbread color. I printed a bunch of gingerbread outlines on cardstock. Madelynn painted them with the puffy paint and added buttons, bits of yarn and googly eyes to complete her gingerbread boys and girls.
Gingerbread Sensory Bin:
In this bin: brown paper shred, gingerbread pan and cut outs, pom poms, buttons, pipe cleaners, and jingle bells

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:

And that's it for this week. I can't wait to share all of our learning and fun with you this year! Here are our tentative plans for weekly themes if you want to follow along!




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