Years ago, when I was teaching preschool, I came across this gingerbread man activity and loved it!  As soon as my kids were old enough to appreciate it, I gave it a try with them (they probably were not actually old enough, but I couldn’t wait).  They talk about it all year, and I am pretty sure it’s a tradition that will be with us far past the actual mystery of it all.

Are you curious?  When we baked our Gingerbread Man Cookies I made one of the gingerbread men extra special.

Gingerbread man hunt for after baking cookies.. LOVE IT!

While the gingerbread men were baking, and the kids were distracted, that sneaky gingerbread man disappeared!  Of course he was such a sweet gingerbread man that he left us a few clues to follow.

Gingerbread man hunt

what you need: Gingerbread cookies (in the oven or cooling on the rack) ~ brown construction paper ~ Gingerbread Hunt Clues ~ a partner (or a plan on how to distract the kids while you place the clues)

The night before you are going to bake the cookies, prepare the gingerbread clues.  Print out the clues I have provided, or make up your own. I left a few clues blank for you to adjust to fit your house. It doesn’t matter if they rhyme or if you are a great writer, your kids will be so excited all they will be thinking is “THE GINGERBREAD MAN LEFT ME A CLUE!!!”

Gingerbread man hunt for after baking cookies.. LOVE IT!In order to prepare our gingerbread escapee I used a toothpick to make two eyes and a smile.  I used chocolate candies for the buttons, and then let him bake along with the others.  While the cookies were baking, I distracted M & M with a quick book, and my husband removed only the fancy cookie from the oven. (He waited until it was completely done.)  He replaced the cookie with clue #1. He then put each clue in the hiding place I had instructed. Once the book was done we returned to the kitchen to check on the cookies.  The search was on!

Gingerbread man hunt for after baking cookies.. LOVE IT!My husband replaced the gingerbread man while we were searching  so we would find him right back where he started.  Of course once you catch him there is only one way to keep him from getting away again.  YUM!

Gingerbread man hunt for after baking cookies.. LOVE IT!

Tips (to maximize learning): 1.  I have included two personalized clues, you can change the names on your computer, write the clues out so they are relevant to your child, or just leave those two out.   2.  Last year I did this activity alone with the kids.  Since I had to be creative with placing the clues, I set them up watching a show in my room.  While they were distracted I hid the clues and the gingerbread man.  When we heard the timer we ran down to check on the cookies.  (The activity was so exciting, they forgot about the show!)

Questions (to ask your kids): “Which clue was the hardest to figure out?  Why?”  “Where would you hide if you were a gingerbread man?”  “Why do you think the gingerbread man went back to where he started?”

Use this activity along with Gingerbread Cookie and Gingerbread Chart, add in Gingerbread Art.  Ta da. . . you have a Gingerbread lesson plan!


  1. Cute idea! We do a gingerbread theme every December and it’s always a favorite. As our cookies are baking, I ask if one of the gingerbread cookies would escape. Now I have a way of actually doing that. Thanks!

    1. Yeah! It’s one of my favorite things to do, the kids talk about it all year. Maybe you and I should should throw out the rules…bake cookies for 4th of July!

  2. Thanks for a great idea! We tried this yesterday with our 3-year-old. At first I wasn’t sure he was into the game–he needed repeated nudging and extra hints–but he’s been talking about the “clues” all day today. I hope we can do this every year.

    1. I am so excited about this comment!!! We haven’t done our hunt yet, but the kids keep asking about it. I’m so glad it was a great experience. Thank you for sharing with me, it totally made my day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *