Every year at the start of school, I introduced my kindergarteners to the principal, kitchen staff and other VIPs by sending them on a playful gingerbread hunt. My students smiled from start to finish. (And so did the staff!)
Now that I’m out of the classroom, I was excited to share this playful reading activity with my three year old son, C. And, since Christmas is right around the corner, the timing of the activity couldn’t be more perfect. You can download your own free copy of the clues we used here.
To start, I gathered a few supplies:
- A copy of The Gingerbread Man.
- A set of the printable clues. I included two designs for you to choose from – one with festive colors and one with gingerbread men.
- A pair of scissors.
- Gingerbread cookies. I took the easy route this time and bought a package of Pepperidge Farms’ Gingerbread Men.
- Two plates.
After cutting and folding the clues, I placed one on an empty plate and left it on the dining room table next to our mischievous Elf on the Shelf. I surrounded it with red sprinkles to give the illusion that the gingerbread man lost a few decorations when he ran away.
Since the first clue said that the gingerbread man was hiding next to the door, I placed the next clue on our doorknob. That clue said, “Come and find me on the tree” so I walked to our living room and laid the next clue in our Christmas tree branches.
Once all of the clues were hidden, I placed the congratulations sign and a plate of gingerbread cookies in the refrigerator like this:
Whew! The hunt was ready.
Before C laid down for his afternoon nap, we read The Gingerbread Man together and laughed at how mischievous the cookie was. When he woke up a few hours later, I told him that our elf had listened to our story and brought a plate of gingerbread cookies for him to enjoy. (I’m sure that you can imagine how excited that news made him!) C raced upstairs to find the surprise. But, of course, the plate waiting for him was empty and all that remained were a few sad sprinkles and a note telling him to look for the gingerbread man at the door.
Off C went, running around the house finding one clue and then the next. After reading two or three notes together, he had already memorized the first three lines: Run! Run! Fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the gingerbread man! Each time that he “read” the words on his own, he beamed with pride and then excitedly jumped up and down as I read the next set of words out loud to him.
When the final clue led him to the plate of cookies hiding in the fridge, he happily enjoyed his treat and then BEGGED (and that’s no exaggeration) to repeat the hunt again.
We spent the next thirty minutes hiding the clues and following them around the house. To say that this activity was a hit would be a big understatement. I hope that your family enjoys the game as much as mine.
Disclosure: Playdough to Plato is a participating member in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.