Had to re-post this old favorite! We haven’t done this for awhile. Look at the excitement on my kids’ faces. I may need to do this activity again soon!
After reading the Gingerbread Man book (or Gingerbread Baby), have your children make their own Gingerbread man cookie. If your kids don’t like the taste of ginger, like mine, a simple sugar cookie will do. Have them roll out the doll and cut the shape with a cookie cutter.
Then, help them put it in the COOL oven, but pretend it is hot. You are not really cooking him.
You will need an adult helper for this next part. Go distract your children while the cookie is “cooking.” While you are busy, have the other adult take the cookie dough out, throw it away secretly, and leave behind a note on the cookie sheet that says something like, “Run run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man. Try to find me by the mailboxes.” In other words, your gingerbread man escaped from the oven and now you must try to find him.
It’s fun to have another clue at each place, but if you don’t want to do the work beforehand, you can always just pretend: “I think I saw him go towards the park. Come on!” My kids LOVE this!
While you are out and about chasing the gingerbread man, have your helper put a previously baked gingerbread man (not frosted) back on the cookie sheet and place him in the oven.**
When your children return from their hunt, they can go look in the oven and catch him there! I always like to tell them to be very quiet and we’ll try to sneak up on him! My husband was my adult helper this year and went all out, complete with frosting “footprints” on the floor, and an upside-down cookie sheet!
After they find him, have them decorate their gingerbread man with frosting and candy.
**In The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, the boy, Mattie, catches the Gingerbread Baby in a gingerbread house. You could also have your gingerbread cookie near your gingerbread house, especially if you read this version.