My students are always so excited throughout the month of December, it’s almost like the end-of-the-year excitement. Since I’ve had great success with my End of the Year Theme Days, I thought I would create holiday ones too. Last year, we had our first Gingerbread Theme Day, and it was loaded with lots of festive and fun gingerbread activities for first grade.
Like all theme days, I try to let the children know what is going on by displaying a sign for the day. I hang a banner and their excitement begins immediately when they walk in the door. We always start our theme days with whole group activities. I use the morning to learn together and have more guided practice.
Gingerbread Reading Comprehension
There are so many adorable gingerbread stories to choose from. I included blank templates so you can pick the activity and book you want to use with your students. You can check out all my favorite gingerbread books in my Amazon store.
After reading a story and working on comprehension strategies, we work on a gingerbread STEM project. We get in groups and build a bridge for the gingerbread man to cross so he can escape the fox. We use gumdrops, toothpicks, and popsicle sticks to build the bridge. I bought my gingerbread men erasers on Amazon, but you could use a cube, cookie, or whatever you have available.
Then, before lunch, we make paper bag gingerbread houses. This project takes time and space, so I like to complete it together as a whole class rather than in a center setting.
The rest of the day is spent in centers. I take time to go over expectations and what needs to happen in each rotation. While they work in centers, I pull children to do some one-on-one assessing before the holiday break. I put the activities in tubs around the room and use my center cards and checklist to get them started. Here is a peek at some of the center activities we complete.
We work on phonics and grammar activities in a few centers. We complete alphabetizing, syllables, punctuation, nouns, adjectives, verbs, and rhyming. There is a task card activity too where they change cvc words to long vowel words.
For math centers, we play three different games. Two of the gingerbread games focus on addition and another game is just a roll-and-move gameboard. There is also a puzzle center using gingerbread dice. Finally, there are printable activities with ten frames and counting by 5’s.
To work on decoding and fluency, there is a poetry center with an original gingerbread poem. After reading the poem, students can sequence, fill in the blank, answer a few questions, illustrate, and work on rhyming.
My students love the adopt a gingerbread center. You can use gingerbread cookies, erasers, toys, or the printables included to adopt a gingerbread. Once they pick their gingerbread, they color them and write about them. You can even turn them into a class book.
This Gingerbread Theme Day set also includes a printable mini-book “How to Make Gingerbread Cookies.” Students can use this activity to work on reading comprehension independently by reading and sequencing the story.
I open two different gingerbread craft centers too. They can make a gingerbread boy or girl and a paper gingerbread house.
More Gingerbread Activities for First Grade
If you are looking for digital extensions for this fun day, I do have a Digital Gingerbread Day too.
I know some teachers can’t do Christmas-themed activities, so I created some Winter Theme Days as well.
Last year some teachers combined both my Christmas and Winter theme days to do the 12 Days of Christmas.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope your December is magical and full of learning.
This is what a few teachers had to say about Gingerbread Theme Day…
“I used this resource the last week before winter break! We did a different theme each day. They loved doing the different activities and I loved the ease of not having to think about what to do! “
“This resource was amazing for our Gingerbread Day before Christmas break! The kids loved it all and had so much fun. Thank you!”
“We had so much fun with our Gingerbread Week. The students loved reading a variety of stories and comparing them. There are so many fun activities to choose from that we turned it into a week!”
If you want even more gingerbread activities for First grade check out my blog post, “A Week Filled With Gingerbread.”