6 Easy Gingerbread Activities for Upper Elementary Students
The weeks before a holiday break can be the most fun – and the most stressful – for a teacher.
Your students are ansty and ready for a break. And honestly, so are you!
But you know you still have to keep some sort of order in your class until that last bell rings.
I’ve found that holiday-themed activities are a great way to keep your kids engaged in the learning process, almost without them realizing it.
And while popcorn may be the favorite snack (or theme, as you can see here) of Halloween and Thanksgiving, the yummiest snack to use at Christmas is gingerbread!
Gingerbread is far more than a delicious snack. When used to its fullest, gingerbread can be days full of fun and learning!
Here are some fun-yet-educational ways I used gingerbread in my classroom.
Use Gingerbread During Language Arts!
With a few steps, gingerbread can easily be incorporated into your language arts lessons.
Gingerbread House Nonfiction Book Report
In my upper elementary classes, I always used my Gingerbread House Book Report activity, which can be used with any nonfiction book.
I liked letting my students decide which book they would like to read. It increases student engagement and is an easy way to differentiate. If you are integrating instruction, this activity is a great way to finish up your social studies or science units, too.
Your students design their own gingerbread house and add details about their book under the flaps.
Bonus! These gingerbread houses make great displays for your classroom or hallways.
You can click here or on the photo to grab yours now.
Gingerbread Picture Books
Who is the gingerbread man?
Many children’s authors have written about the gingerbread man with a lot of varying definitions and character qualities.
Your upper elementary class can read and compare the qualities and characteristics of the gingerbread man in multiple versions of the story.
If you have time, you can extend this unit to include writing with the Gingerbread Man Writing Unit. After students analyze how authors portray the gingerbread man, they select the characteristics of their own gingerbread man and write a story.
Use Gingerbread During Social Studies!
You can integrate social studies and reading with a gingerbread theme, too.
Read About The History Of Gingerbread
Gingerbread has a rich and delicious history that makes a fun social studies lesson for you and your class. You can read a well-written history of gingerbread here.
After reading the history of gingerbread, you could use the Gingerbread House Nonfiction Book Report.
Use Gingerbread During Math!
I loved using gingerbread in my math units! The plus side is gingerbread is so easy to use and students love eating their supplies after the lesson!
Gingerbread House Fraction Activity
A simple way to use math and gingerbread in your classroom is to decorate gingerbread houses. You can integrate fractions into your house decorating.
- ⅔ of my decorations are peppermints.
- Have students double or triple recipes of gingerbread (just print out the recipes!)
While making gingerbread houses, ask your students to help you divide up the materials you’re using (I have a bag of 100 gumdrops that I need to divide into groups of 10. How many gumdrops should there be in each bag?).
If you would prefer a no-prep math activity, try Build-A-Gingerbread-House Division Boom Cards for 3rd and 4th classrooms. BOOM cards are a great way to review concepts with your classroom, and since they are online you can easily use them in your virtual classroom!
Use Gingerbread During Science!
When you think gingerbread, do you think “perfect for my science unit”?
Well, you should!
Gingerbread can be used in your science units by discussing the science of baking.
I enjoyed this short article from Youngzine about the science of baking and think it could be easily translated into your upper elementary classroom.
If you have time, it could be really fun to bake cookies with your class!
All you’ll need is your ingredients and a toaster oven!
Use Gingerbread During STEM!
To me, gingerbread just screams STEM activities!
There is so much to do with gingerbread!
Making gingerbread houses, while incredibly fun, can be messy and expensive for you. Not to mention time-consuming if you chose to bake everything yourself! (If you want to make gingerbread houses with your class, see if you can get donations from parents.)
One fun way to use gingerbread as a STEM activity is to investigate the best icing to use when building a gingerbread house.
If you would rather have a print-and-go integrated STEM and reading activity, try Meredith Anderson’s Gingerbread Man STEM-venture.
Use Gingerbread During Snack!
Of course, by the end of the day, everyone in your class will want to eat gingerbread – make sure you set aside some gingerbread as a fun end of the day treat. After studying and learning about it, your students are sure to enjoy their gingerbread treats.
When it comes to holiday-themed days – gingerbread is the WAY to go!
What fun ways do you celebrate while still learning in your classroom?