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The Gingerbread Man

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Cook up some fun with ‘The Gingerbread Man’ in the last in our mini series based on Yellow Door’s Come Alive Stories


The story of ‘The Gingerbread Man’ offers plenty of opportunities for the children to get involved. The repeating story and language patterns invite participation and the ‘chase’ is fun to recreate through movement and role play. The downloadable resources will help you to extend this into a baking session, and have fun making your own gingerbread men.

Talk about the story

There are many different versions of the story of ‘The Gingerbread Man’, but they all feature a runaway biscuit that escapes from the oven. The Gingerbread Man’s maker then chases him down the lane and is joined by a number of other hungry animals, all eager to be the first to eat him. The Gingerbread Man outruns them all, only to be tricked by the cunning fox who offers him a ride across the river and gobbles him up on the way!

Read ‘The Gingerbread Man’ to the children, or retell the story. Invite suggestions for the characters who chase the Gingerbread Man to the river. Encourage the children to join in with the repeating story language, particularly the refrain, ‘Run, run, run, as fast as you can – you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!’.

Talk about the story. The patterned structure is a great way to reinforce story sequence through talk and to draw out ordinal language. Who was the ‘first’ to chase the Gingerbread Man? Who was ‘next’, or ‘second’? What happened in the end?

Explore the characters’ motives by asking questions such as, ‘Why did the fox tell the Gingerbread Man to climb on to his nose?’.

Be aware that some children may be sensitive to the story. Discuss the fact that gingerbread men are biscuits that are made to be eaten and enjoyed.

Act it out

Provide some opportunities for free play based on the story, for example, in the home corner set out as a kitchen, or against a wall display showing fields, a path and a riverbank. Take the action outside by marking out a stream in the outdoor play area. Invite the children to be one of the characters from the story, for example, the Gingerbread Man running away, or one of the characters chasing him. Encourage them to think about how their character might move as they act out the chase.

Develop this into a circle game. Play it along similar lines to the traditional ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’. As the children sit in a circle, walk around the edge and choose a child to be the baker. Then tap another child on the shoulder and say, ‘Run, run, run, as fast as you can!’. Both of the children should now get up and run around the circle, and the baker tries to catch the gingerbread man before he gets back to his place again.

Create a group frieze

Encourage the children to choose an animal to add to the chase. Suggest that they draw or paint their character, or create it using collage materials. Place the animals and a picture of the baker along the path or the riverbank. Use the frieze as a visual aid as you tell and discuss the story, moving the characters along as the story unfolds.

These ideas and activities are taken from the Come Alive Stories series and are reproduced here by kind permission of Yellow Door.

For each story, there is a resource pack, an interactive CD-ROM and a wooden character set. For more information, visit Yellow Door or call 0845 603 5309.

Make gingerbread men

Ask for parental permission for the children to taste and handle foods. Check for any food allergies and dietary requirements. Download the ‘Making gingerbread’ interactive activity, or the ‘Gingerbread men recipe’ pictures, on to a whiteboard, and discuss how gingerbread is made. Talk about the order in which the ingredients go into the bowl, using chronological language such as ‘first’, ‘then’ and ‘next’, and how they will be mixed and shaped.

Use the pictures as a reference as you make gingerbread with the children, and discuss each step as you do it. Talk about the ingredients and ask questions involving the children’s senses, such as:

  • What does the butter look/feel/smell like?
  • Does the mixture feel dry/wet/soft/firm?

Talk about the consistency and flexibility of the dough before it goes into the oven, and notice how it changes after being cooked.

When the gingerbread men are cool, invite the children to decorate them with icing and currants. Draw out mathematical language as you talk about how many currants the children might want to use for eyes, buttons and so on. Extend the possibilities by offering decorations in a variety of colours and shapes.

Reader offer

Nursery Education PLUS readers can claim a special 10% discount by quoting ‘Nursery Education Come Alive discount’ when ordering.

Make your own recipe book

Use the ‘Making gingerbread’ interactive activity on a whiteboard to encourage the children to talk about what they did to make the gingerbread. Alternatively, invite groups of children to explore the activity on the whiteboard or computer independently.

Use the recipe pictures to sequence the recipe instructions. Suggest that the children create a mini recipe book to take home.


  1. Liz
    on 27 September 2014

    The Gingerbread Man

    These activity ideas and links to resources have proved very helpful in my planning. I’ve taught units based on this story many times however it is always nice to search for new ideas. With limited planning time but the desire to still do an excellent job I am so pleased I came across these activity ideas and resources. Thank you.

    4out of 5