Fun gingerbread book comparison activities for your preschool, pre-k, tk, and kindergarten students

Gingerbread books!  There are so many story variations and I just can't get enough!  Students and teachers alike enjoy reading gingerbread books.  During gingerbread week, we read four different gingerbread books at circle time including The Gingerbread Boy, The Gingerbread Baby, The Gingerbread Girl, and The Gingerbread Cowboy and make a gingerbread book comparison chart.  I have made comparison charts for years but this year I finally made a one with pictures.  This way my preschool and pre-k students can "read" the pictures on the chart and have book discussions with peers using the chart independently.
How to make milk carton gingerbread houses in the classroom. Perfect for a gingerbread theme in a preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten classroom.

One of my favorite weeks during the school year is Gingerbread Week!  Each year I do it the week before Christmas and the kids LOVE it!  It is filled with TONS of fun gingerbread activities and my favorite activity...making gingerbread milk carton houses!  What preschooler doesn't LOVE using icing, licking their fingers, and building with candy?  
I'm here to share with you how I do it in my classroom and some tips and ticks I have learned to make it go smoothly!
Gingerbread activities and centers for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten (STEM, math, writing, letters, fine motor, and art)
Are you planning for Gingerbread Week in your classroom? How is that even possible right? Time just flies by. Every year the week before Christmas, we do Gingerbread Week! It's perfect theme to do if you're not able to celebrate Christmas in your classroom.
Here are a few things we will be doing. You can grab all the gingerbread printable activities in my Gingerbread Centers Math, Literacy, and More pack.

Parent Handouts to keep kids learning at home. Fun easy activities parents can do. Perfect or preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten.
Parents are a child's first teacher.  Building skills and learning at home is super important for kids of all ages to be successful.  I created Building Skills & Learning at Home:  Parent Handouts to give parents fun and simple suggestions, tips, and games/activities they can do to help their child build their skills at home using materials they already have around their house.  
This post contains affiliate links.
I have 100 followers on TPT!  To celebrate I made a new FREEBIE for you Editable Name Cards: Dot It, Collage It, Puzzle It, Sticker  It, Paint It, Rainbow Write!
Every student in my class is working on their name. I have students working on learning their first name in uppercase, first name in lowercase, last name in uppercase, and/or their last name in lowercase.  Many students at many different levels. I can make the name card specific to the level each child is at. This way all the students can do the same activity but at their own individual level. Here are some of the ways I have used them in my class.
 Sticker Collage Your Name! This is their favorite way by far! It is also GREAT fine motor work.
I made a fun bulletin board with the Sticker Name Collages! It shows parents that I am supporting their child at their own level too!
 Dot Your Name!  Students used dot markers and dotted their name.
I had students who were working on their name in lowercase and their name in uppercase at the same table.  Great conversations about uppercase and lowercase letters were happening!  Love that!
Make a Name Puzzle!  
Students colored their name cards and I cut the letters apart.
Students had a bast putting their name puzzles together!
I made name puzzles for some of my students on colored paper.  Just copy/print the name card on 2 different colored pieces of paper.  Cut one up into pieces and leave the other whole for the student to use a model.  It is really helping my students write their name in order.  They do it each morning after they sign in. 
Button Collage Your Name!  One morning during table time, students could pick from a variety of materials and make a name collage.  This little man made his name using buttons!
 Rainbow Write Your Name!  I used the hollow letters and students rainbow wrote their names using each color.  It makes each letter a rainbow!  
 Q Tip Paint Your Name!  Students used q-tips for paint brushes and painted their name.
Learn Your Sight Words!  I am also using the cards to help students learn their sight words!  A few of my pre-k friends are working on the sight word am.

Here are a few more ideas I have but haven't had time to implement yet.  Laminate and...
  • use as playdoh mats!
  • students trace their names with dry erase markers
  • add a texture like glue.  Students can finger trace their name and feel the texture as they trace.
  • use wiki sticks
  • make name with snack food
Thanks again to everyone!  It would be great if you would leave some feedback too.

How to set up and create a grocery store in your dramatic play center that is full of literacy and math opportunities.

Change your dramatic play center into a Grocery Store! It is easy to embed math and literacy learning opportunities into their play when they are pretending in the grocery store. When I change my dramatic play center, I like to take the theme all over the room into each and every center. 
We have just wrapped up our  Shapes unit!  It was amazing!  The kids are noticing shapes everywhere and talking about it's characteristics at school and at HOME!  Click HERE to read about what we did for the first half of our Shapes unit.
My math shelf has all of the shape games on the top.  The bottom shelves are filled with math manipulatives and games we have played during past units.
Shape Roll & Trace has been a huge hit!  Students roll a shape dice and trace the shape they rolled.  At the end of the game, they erase their board with a tissue.  It is also great fine motor work!  
We used the shape playing cards to play Shape Go Fish and Shape Concentration.
Print and laminate math cards on colored cardstock.  I made each set of cards a different color.  This way when a card is left out it is super easy to figure out which set it is from.   I keep each set in a baggie with the “shape cards” label on it.  It is an easy and quick way to keep your cards organized.
My favorite thing to use for shape making is salt in a cookie tray!  It is super cheap so I don’t mind throwing it away after a week or so.  This tray has sprinkles added to it!  Students used the shape cards as a guide when drawing the shapes.
Each week of the unit, we would go on a shape in our classroom for the specific shape we were learning about.  Students helped each other and the conversations they had about the shapes were AMAZING!
You can download Shape Hunt for FREE in my TPT store. 
To explore sides and points of shapes, students made model shapes with playdoh and popsicle sticks in my art center.
 We have math talks after small group or center time throughout out unit to talk about shapes.  We created this anchor chart during a math talk about the number of sides and points of each shape.
We sorted shapes by the number of sides they had.  Another day, they sorted the shapes by the number of points they had.
Using real objects, we sorted shapes by sides or no sides.  Students could actually feel the side of the shape or feel how it was round (not having any sides).  Using real objects is so important for students!  They learn so much through touch.
 Another fun way to explore the sides of shapes is to make shapes using geoboards.  This student filled his geoboard up will triangles.  
It was a fun unit and ALL students learned about shapes at their own level!  For my 3 year old friends, they can now identify their basic shapes, explored shape vocabulary, and shape characteristics.  My pre-k friends can now identify the basic shapes and describe shapes based on it's characteristics using shape vocabulary!  If you want to do a shape unit in your classroom you can purchase Let's Learn About Shapes in my TPT store.  

Every year I teach a math unit/study all about SHAPES.  It is one of my favorite math units to teach.  There are so many fun activities you can do and it is easy to incorporate them into all my classroom centers!  Here is a highlight of some of our shape study using Let's Learn About Shapes!
This year my shapes unit will be four weeks long.  Each week we learn about one or two shapes.  Week one is circle and oval.  Week two is triangle.  Week three is rhombus and square.  Week four is rectangle.  To begin the study we created a chart on the basic shapes.
 I put the shape anchor chart in my discovery center.  On the table students could sort various objects by shape.  Students could draw a representation of how they sorted.  I always try to add a writing and/or representation piece to activities I have on my discovery table.  
Shape Roll and Graph is a fun game to practice shape matching and shape identification.  Students roll a shape dice or pick a shape card and place a counter in the box in the row of that shape.  This game can be played independently or with peers. I introduce all my shape games in small group first before I put it out as a center choice.  My students LOVE to use magnetic bingo counters for this game.  When the game is over they can erase their board using the magnet wand!
We have done MANY shape sorting activities during our shape unit.  The first way we sorted shapes was round or not round.  The directions are simple.  Students sort the paper shapes, and glue onto the page.
 Week two we focused on triangles.  Students sorted if the shape was a triangle or if it was not a triangle.
Here are the directions on how I made my shapes induced in Let's Learn about Shapes.  Every activity includes a teacher information page about how you can use it in your classroom.
As a way to model the activity and to assess students, we did the same activity using the shape headers and real objects whole group.  It was my transition from music to snack.  Students came up one at a time and sorted their shape then went back to wash their hands for snack.  
I wanted the shapes unit to be in all of my classroom centers.  In the art center students could create shape collages.  Creating shape collages is a fun way for students to explore shapes and to develop spatial sense.  I always have a big bag of paper shapes in my classroom.  I am always adding shapes from left over art activities/crafts throughout the year.  You can also buy pre-cut foam shapes from a craft store.  They are smaller but work just as well.  Many of my students were creating Shape Monsters so I did a bulletin board with them!  For students who had not made on one their own, I pulled them for a small group where they could create a shape monster too.  Don't you love how all their monsters are all unique!
For a table time activity when we were focusing on triangles, students created shape collages only using triangles.  I did not separate out the triangles for the art project.  Students had to find and identify the triangles to create their collage!  Art and math at the same time!
 They turned out SO AMAZING I put them in the Art Gallery.
Shape printing!  Each week I found objects around the classroom of that shape do make prints with.  When we focused on circles, students could make circle prints.  The tubes are paper towels rolls cut in half.  One quick tip about this activity...don't let the tubes set in the paint all day.  They will get soak up the paint and get soggy.
Something I added to my library center were shape mini books.  Each week, I added the shape book(s) that we focusing on.  Students traced, decorated, and made the shape and/or shape word.  They cut along the lines to create each page and stapled it together.  This was a huge hit!  I introduced this activity during small group before I added to my center.
Everything in this post is included in my unit Let's Learn About Shapes!  Stay tuned to see what we do next to explore and learn all about shapes!

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