The traditional gingerbread man story has changed a lot over the years. This means that there are many different versions of the story out for kids of all ages to get to know. Some may be similar to the classic, while others stray quite a bit from the familiar tale. The winter is a wonderful time to get to know different stories and use them within speech and language to share, compare, and talk about differences. In addition to this, gingerbread friends and houses are fun to make into activities to go along with the unit of study.
Some of the books that include different gingerbread pal tales are:
- The Gingerbread Man by Eric Kimmel
- Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup
- Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
- Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
- The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth
- The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
- The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires
- The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
These books are all a variation of the classic tale that may go in a slightly unexpected direction. Once you have read multiple books with the group, take time for a discussion on the stories. What are some of the differences? What are similarities with the tales? Take time to allow everyone to explain which story was their favorite and explain why. Listening to stories and discussing them is a great way to help reluctant speakers to get more confidence.
When finished, expand on this by creating your own gingerbread pals. Use brown construction paper to trace the shape onto. Give everyone scissors, glue, tissue paper, buttons, sequins, glitter, puffy paints, googly eyes, and other craft supplies to make their dream pal. While working on their gingerbread friends, have students think about their characters. How will they dress them to share their personality? What information will this help us to know about their pal? Does their gingerbread pal have a story and family like the others in the stories read? As everyone finishes go around and introduce each of the gingerbread pals to the group. Allow time for questions and answers to encourage group speech and participation.
Send home the completed gingerbread characters along with a note to families. Include recipes that they may want to try during winter break. Always encourage multilingual families to reach out if they need additional information or translations for items sent home.
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