Don’t forget to visit our main Home Learning page for other weekly themed activity ideas. This week’s home learning is based on the popular traditional tale The Gingerbread Man. As usual, I have tried to put them under each of the 7 areas of the EYFS framework below. Any key skills are in bold.
Communication and Language
T was encouraged to join in and repeat the parts he knew. Most of us will know that The Gingerbread Man is great for this. As he meets each of the characters, they tell him that they want to eat him to which he replies, “Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.” T loves this part and has even been overheard repeating it in his play, albeit a little mixed up as he insists on calling him a ginger man bread. As T listens to the story, he shows concentration and maintains attention throughout. Recall of the story is encouraged.
As with our other home learning posts, T is always given simple instructions to follow in lots of different tasks. This includes two-part sequences. For example, “Pour the spices into the flour and then mix it.”
When reading the book, we asked questions throughout, encouraging T to answer with ‘because’. For example, “Do you think it is okay to trust the fox?”, “How might the gingerbread man be feeling when the animals are chasing him?”
We played a game of Hide and Seek where the gingerbread man would hide and T would find him. When he found him, he would explain where he was using prepositions e.g. under, above, behind. I also became a clue-giver to introduce T to more prepositional language. “The gingerbread man is hiding beneath the table.”
From a general point of view, we always work on basic hygiene and personal needs such as going to the toilet independently, hand washing (so important right now!), getting dressed independently and brushing our teeth.
As well as this, we have been working on our pincer grip to develop his fine motor skills in our gingerbread man home learning. We used tweezers to pick up pom pom balls for our maths activity. We’ve also been persevering with practising our tripod grip when holding a pencil (holding with thumb and two fingers).
We have also been practising our letter formation again using flour. If you use flour then give it a quick blast in the microwave first. Alternatively, you could use sand or something similar. It’s a great way to practise as it’s easy to start again if a mistake is made.
As well as fine motor skills, we’ve also been working on our gross motor skills. For this activity, I drew lines and circles in pencil onto the gingerbread man. T then followed over the lines with paint.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Again, there are general things that we work on daily such as encouraging T to try new things, teaching him to ask for help when he needs it, turn taking and following rules, just to name a few.
Another of our gingerbread man home learning activities was using our negotiation and problem solving to build the gingerbread man a bridge to cross the river safely. T had to select materials independently and use trial and error (with the help of a grown up) to ensure the bridge went across the water and held the gingerbread man.
Building the bridge also allowed us to introduce water safety and the importance of not going near a body of water without an adult.
Like last week, we worked on T’s awareness of other people’s feelings. We continued with this, focussing on the word ‘worried‘. Admittedly, I took for granted that T knew what this meant – he didn’t. We spoke about it’s meaning and why the gingerbread man might feel this way. T was able to come up with his own ideas of what might make somebody worry i.e. somebody shouting.
We drew around T to create a giant gingerbread man and then labelled all of the parts of the body that he knew and introduced him to others that he didn’t.
As mentioned above, we worked on repeating phrases and asking questions about the story. T used pictures to recall the story. Later, he used the same pictures to put the main events in order.
Following on from last week, we continued to work on letter recognition and formation (see Physical Development). We follow Read Write Inc (Set 1) so we looked at the letters m, a, s, d, t. Now that he can recognise these, we started to segment cvc (consonant-vowel-consonant) words e.g. mat, sat and blend them together.
We encourage T to write his name on his work when he is finished, reinforcing the tripod grip.
Like last week, we continued to reinforce matching amounts to numerals. As T is still not confident with this, we only looked at numerals 1-5. I found this playdough mat (free, if you provide an email address) which T used to place the number of pom poms displayed. He counted these out from a larger group of pom poms.
When reading the story, we used one more when each character chased the gingerbread man. He was able to say one more than the given number. T replicated this in his play when talking about ‘one more car’ was chasing the gingerbread man.
As mentioned in Communication and Language, we played Hide and Seek which had a focus on positional language.
We drew around T to make a giant gingerbread man and went on a hunt to find things that were taller or shorter.
We also measured the length of the gingerbread man in various ways, focusing on how accurate our measuring was. For example, we started with cars which were all different lengths.
Understanding the World
When building our bridge, we looked at different types of bridges and what the purpose of a bridge was. This meant that T could develop an understanding for what would make a good bridge and choose appropriate materials.
We also looked at stranger danger and whether the gingerbread man should have spoken to the fox, who was a stranger. If you want to know more about teaching stranger danger, I have written about it previously in my post Are you teaching stranger danger correctly?
Expressive Art and Design
Much of our expressive art in this week’s gingerbread man home learning came from imaginative role play. He incorporated the story into his own games such as his vehicles chasing the gingerbread man. He also set up his own shop to sell treats such as cakes and…you guessed it, gingerbread man biscuits.
There was also a lot of overlap with other areas such as the bridge we built which developed T’s ability to join construction pieces together to build and balance and to use various construction materials.
As well as this, we looked at how we can mix primary colours to make purple, green and orange. He mixed his own colours for decorating his giant gingerbread men then added his own decorations to finish it off.
I also set T a challenge to design his own gingerbread man for his cake shop. To save on printing, I cut out the gingerbread men on the maths activity. After he’d designed it, he talked about the ingredients he could use to make it.
Makes and Bakes
Every week, we try to include some sort of recipe. This week it was How to make gingerbread man biscuits. Check out the recipe. It’s so easy for kids to give it a go themselves.
And that’s our gingerbread man home learning completed!
Don’t forget to check out our other home learning activities aimed at EYFS. Why not bookmark the page for later or pin us to Pinterest?
Words to parents/carers: Don’t beat yourself up if your activities don’t go to plan or your child just doesn’t want to take part. What you don’t see here is the constant stopping and starting, the losing concentration, the tantrums and the arts and crafts that didn’t make the cut because they weren’t in keeping with the theme (and that’s okay because we should be following our kid’s lead!). All in all, these activities took about a week to complete and were complete in 10-15 minute bursts.