Move over peppermint and pumpkin spice; gingerbread is the star flavor of these holiday activities for preschoolers.
Be it edible houses with a candy-coated trim, candles, or lattes, gingerbread is all around us this time of year. My Pre-K Box wanted in on the fun! We have designed 3 gingerbread activities for children ages 3 to 5 that mixes equal parts creativity and fun with a dash of math and a spoonful of fine motor skills.
My Pre-K Box: The Best Monthly Subscription Box for Kids Ages 3-5
My Pre-K Box is an educational subscription box for preschoolers filled with different learning activities for math and literacy skills! Each box is based on a different theme and is focused on play based learning. Your kids will love exploring new activities each month while practising kindergarten readiness skills!
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Why does gingerbread get so much love this time of year?
Gingerbread is a tasty treat that is believed to date back thousands of years, originating in Asia and introduced to Western Europe in the 11th-century. Gingerbread quickly became a favorite flavor at festivals and fairs, often shaped and decorated to look like flowers, birds, animals, or even armor. Throughout American history, gingerbread has popped up in recipes credited to George Washington’s mother, and 3 different gingerbread types appear in the first American cookbook, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons.
Many credit the popularity of gingerbread houses to the fairytale Hansel and Gretel created by the Brothers Grimm, which tells the story of 2 children who stumble across a witch’s house in the forest made of gingerbread, cake, and pastries. Constructing gingerbread houses around Christmas became a custom in Germany, and the tradition spread to America, too.
Gingerbread books for your preschooler
These books pair perfectly with the activities below:
- The Gingerbread Pirates, Kristin Kladstrup
- Ten Tiny Gingerbread Men, Tiger Tales
- Catch That Cookie!, Hallie Durand
Gingerbread Preschool Activities
Gingerbread sensory writing tray
Sensory writing trays are a My Pre-K Box favorite because they are simple to make and encourage preschoolers to practice pre-writing strokes without the pressure of trying to write on paper with a pencil. We love switching up which writing tools children use for different tactile experiences. This particular preschool learning activity focuses on making letter-like shapes, letter recognition, phonics, and sight words.
- Tray or paper plate to contain the mixture
- Construction paper
- Gingerbread spice, allspice, or a cinnamon and nutmeg mixture
- Writing tools, such as a thick marker or cotton swab
Step 1 Cut 12 gingerbread men shapes from construction paper.
Step 2 Write each of the following letters on one of the shapes: a, c, e, f, h, i, l, n, o, p, t, and u.
Step 3 Mix 2 teaspoons of your holiday spice of choice to a half-cup of salt.
Step 4 Pour the salt mixture onto your tray or plate.
Step 5 Place the gingerbread shapes face down and have your child select one. Prompt them to write the selected letter on the sensory tray using one of the writing tools or their finger.
Step 6 For older children learning sight words or pre-reading skills, combine the letters to make simple words that your preschooler can practice writing in the tray. Some examples include the, on, at, if, hi, fun, not, and up.
Skip the paintbrush and instead use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to create this holiday craft. Your child can even decorate an entire roll of craft paper (most dollar stores sell these) that you can use as gift wrap paper!
- Gingerbread cookie cutter
- Roll of craft paper
- Small paper plates
Step 1 Roll out the craft paper. Secure it to the floor or surface with tape to prevent it from rolling and sliding.
Step 2 Add one color of paint per small paper plate.
Step 3 Prompt your preschooler to dip the cookie cutter onto the plate, coating the edges in paint.
Step 4 Press the cookie cutter onto the paper, lifting it to reveal the imprint.
Step 5 Repeat the process with various colors and placing the cookie cutter at different angles to create a festive print.
The object of this game is simple: fill a gingerbread man cookie cutter with pom poms. The fun is in getting there! Here your preschooler will focus on important skills such as counting, number recognition, addition, and subtraction. Using tongs instead of their fingers to transfer the pompoms helps to strengthen fine motor skills. These are the same skills your child will use to complete key tasks in their daily lives and at school, such as buttoning clothes, tying shoelaces, brushing teeth, and writing.
- Gingerbread man cookie cutter
- Pom poms
Step 1 Take turns rolling the dice. Place the same number of pom poms inside of the cookie-cutter shape using the tongs to transfer them.
Step 2 Repeat until no more pom poms can fit.
Step 3 Once filled, count the number of pom poms that fit inside the cookie cutter.
Step 4 Play the game in reverse! Roll the dice and remove that number of pom poms.
Step 5 For older children, roll 2 dice and add or subtract the amounts to determine how many pom poms to add.
We absolutely LOVE seeing your preschoolers learning through play! Please take photos and videos of your child engaging in these gingerbread preschool activities and share them with us on Facebook and Instagram!
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