Gingerbread Man - 4yr - Cross a River Game
Kathy in Glenview, IL
GINGERBREAD MAN BIRTHDAY PARTY For my daughter's 4th birthday (in December), we had a Gingerbread Man theme.
INVITATIONS: I used red cards and envelopes from Michael's and decorated them with a brown gingerbread man cutout that I made by tracing a cookie cutter. I added the face and buttons with a black marker. On the back it said, Run, run as fast as you can to Sophia's Gingerbread Man Birthday and the party info.
DECORATIONS: To complement our Christmas decorations, I added a garland of green tinsel with little tinsel candy canes on it (from Oriental Trading), red and white balloons, and a candy cane balloon on the birthday girl's chair. The food table was covered with a red and white checked cloth and for a centerpiece I put a little gingerbread man stuffed doll, a small cookie sheet (from our toaster oven), and a mini wooden rolling pin (from our set of playdough toys).
ACTIVITIES: As the children arrived, they could rotate among three activities. The first was they could lie on the floor on a big sheet of brown paper (it's available in rolls, mean for wrapping packages, about $3 for 12 feet) and an adult or older child would trace around them and cut out the life-size shape. Then they could decorate their giant gingerbread paper doll with stickers, markers, and glitter glue pens.
The second activity was gingerbread cookie decorating --I made the cookies in advance and they could decorate them with frosting and candy. These were put on small paper plates and then into a quart ziploc bag labeled with the child's name, to take home. The third activity (very popular!!) was playing with peppermint play dough. You can use any homemade playdough recipe, make one batch pink and one white, and just add some peppermint extract to it to make it smell nice. I just put it out on a table covered with a red and white checked plastic cloth, and added cookie cutters, mini rolling pins, etc.
STORY: After they had had an hour to rotate through the activity stations, we read the Gingerbread Man story, complete with props (a stuffed gingerbread man doll, a stuffed fox, baby dolls to represent the Old Man and Old Woman, and other animals to match all the other animals that were shown in the book).
GAME: We played one game, which I called Cross the River. I taped a big circle of brown and grey paper stepping stones" on the floor and whenever the music stopped whoever was standing in the river was "out." As they got out the children had to go stand with the stuffed fox in his "den" behind a chair. However I told them that they were just visiting Mr. Fox but that they were too smart to get eaten!
CAKE: For the cake I made one small cake frosted in red and white stripes like a peppermint candy. This had four big gingerbread man shaped candles on it. Then there were also cupcakes frosted in red and white stripes and each cupcake was topped with a mini gingerbread man cookie. We also had vanilla ice cream cups topped with crushed peppermint.
FAVORS: Besides their artwork and their decorated cookie each child got a plastic gingerbread man mug containing some peppermint-striped Hershey Kisses a mini box of raisins a decorate-your-own-gingerbread-man sticker sheet and a candy cane decorated with a mini paper gingerbread man with wiggly eyes. The mugs and sticker sheets came from Oriental Trading and the mini gingerbread men that went on the candy canes were scrapbook decorations from Michael's.
THANK YOU'S: For the thank you notes I got more red cards and my daughter decorated each one with extra sets of the make-your-own-gingerbread-man stickers. She spent a long time doing this and each one was different! This was a fun party especially for a December birthday. It was appropriate for the Christmas season without being specifically a Christmas party and it was very easy to do. "
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