Gingerbread Man Hunt

Activity for ages 3 to 8.

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.

Fun Gingerbread Man Hunt!!

Getting Ready

To start, I gathered a few supplies:

    • A copy of The Gingerbread Man book.
    • 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.

Free printable gingerbread man hunt. Playful way to practice reading. {Playdough to Plato}

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.

Free printable gingerbread man hunt. Playful way to practice reading. {Playdough to Plato}

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.

The Hunt

Before my son, 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.

Free printable gingerbread man hunt. Playful way to practice reading. {Playdough to Plato}

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.

Free printable gingerbread man hunt. Playful way to practice reading. {Playdough to Plato}

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.

Find More

For more festive fun, check out these 15 holiday busy bags, make candy cane stripes disappear and thread some easy candy cane ornaments.


Malia Hollowell

Malia Hollowell

Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mom to three young kids {5, 3 and 1}. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education {go Stanford Cardinal!} and spent seven years teaching in a classroom before taking time off to raise her little ones.
Malia Hollowell

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  1. I love treasure hunts! (I’m just a big kid too). This looks so much fun… with the added treats of gingerbread men too! Very cute clues. Thanks for sharing.

    • Aww, thank you for the compliment! I’m a big kid too and am pretty sure that I had as much fun watching my boys race around the house as they did doing it.

  2. I love this! We did The Gingerbread Baby today. I scattered paper gingerbread men all around and my boys had to run around and find them but I love your written clues and the authentic “reading” they involve. we may try that tomorrow. They were very into the book, so I think they’d love another activity.

    • I LOVE that idea, Jackie! My boys would get such a kick out of running around hunting for gingerbread men. We can swap ideas. I’ll try out your hunt this weekend. :)

  3. This is a fun idea. Thanks for the printable! We love that book. I started a new saturday linky and would love to have you come by to share some of your great ideas!

  4. Hi Malia! I love this gingerbread hunt. I can’t wait to do it with the kids, especially since they are now able to read the clues on their own. Thank you.

  5. This is the coolest idea!! I think I’m going to have to try this when we’re all together with the cousins for Christmas. I can see them all waking up to do this together and being so excited! Thank you so much for linking up to Discover & Explore!

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