Inside: How to put together a toddler and preschool gingerbread theme that is full of fun hands-on activities. Free printables included!
The gingerbread theme is always a favorite for December.
This could be a good alternative for those who don’t include Christmas in their classrooms, as you don’t need to add any holiday to this unit.
(That being said, since our preschool does include Christmas, you will see some Christmas activities combined here.)
The gingerbread theme is also easy to adapt for younger and older children, with plenty of play and learning opportunities.
👉 Make sure to scroll down towards the bottom of this page to get all the free printables we used with this theme!
How to Put Together a Toddler and Preschool Gingerbread Theme
Here are some of the activities we put together this week. Note that not everything is theme-related, but I still like to share what we’ve done.
Watch the video here:
Our toddlers and preschoolers love to pretend they are baking. (We also love doing the real thing, too.)
I had some plush gingerbread men that my former co-teacher found at Goodwill.
I also created a gingerbread dramatic play printable that has gingerbread cookies, an order form, and a bakery sign. (These are available towards the bottom of this post.)
How our children used this area:
I printed and laminated the cookie printables and placed them on a tray with a gingerbread spatula. (I found it years ago in a thrift store on the coast. Isn’t it cute?)
The children used the spatula to serve the cookies to anyone in the classroom, over and over again.
They counted the gingerbread on the order form and circled how many they wanted. (I laminated the sheet and provided a dry erase marker.)
So much learning took place in this dramatic play center.
- They built language skills by communicating with each other.
- They worked on number recognition and counting as they filled out the order form.
- Their fine motor skills were strengthened as they transferred the cookies from the pretend oven to the trays, and then delivering them to friends.
If you haven’t tried golf ball painting with your toddlers and preschoolers, you must!
It’s a fun process art activity that allows the children to move as they work. Perfect for busy kids!
As soon as I write a separate post sharing exactly how we made these cute gingerbread men, I will share the link here.
In the meantime, you will find a couple of gingerbread cookie printables towards the bottom of this post.
We also painted gingerbread cookies at the easel, using the larger gingerbread printable.
We provided foam brushes, but also had regular paint brushes available.
Star Sun Catchers
As I mentioned earlier, not everything we do relates to that week’s theme, and this is an example.
We love making sun catchers! They are simple, perfect for a calm activity, and build fine motor skills.
I used a star template (printable is available towards the end of this post) and the children pressed tissue paper squares to the sticky ConTact paper.
More sun catchers we’ve made:
Tis the season for making ornaments, and we always make at least one for the children’s families.
I love wrapping everything up in a handmade gift bag, so this year our children stamped green and red onto white lunch sacks and we placed our ornaments inside it.
Years ago I purchased some cute paper mâché gingerbread boxes and bendable gingerbread figures. Every class in our preschool has enjoyed adding these materials to their sensory bins.
This year we used coffee beans as the filler. The children loved using scoops and tongs to transfer the beans into the little boxes.
And, because the coffee beans had this way of popping out of the bin, we kept a small broom and dust pan available for sweeping them off the floor.
Related: Easy Gingerbread Sensory Bin
Building a gingerbread house was featured on our light table this week.
I created a printable, cut out and laminated the pieces, and placed them on the table.
Note: This activity could easily be done on a regular table, too.
This free printable is available towards the bottom of this post.
There are so many different versions of The Gingerbread Man, plus other gingerbread stories.
Here are some of our favorites:
Click on each photo to get the link to the pdf download:
More gingerbread activities:
Planning your winter theme? We’ve done the work for you!
I am the co-author of these winter theme lesson plans.
24 preschool learning activities for your winter theme, including literacy, math, science, art, fine motor, and more! A great resource for teachers and homeschoolers.
24 preschool learning activities that cover
- Fine Motor
- Gross Motor
- Social Studies
- Circle Time
FREE CIRCLE TIME PLANNER!
Get your FREE circle time planner as a gift when you subscribe to my free weekly newsletters.