December is the month that I always pull out the Gingerbread Man book. It is a great theme for December because it is holiday neutral, but still has that festive feel. Today, I wanted to show you some ways you can do a Gingerbread Man perspective taking activity. I am going to provide three ways you can implement this idea, so you don’t have the materials, you can do the next best option.
In this gingerbread man perspective taking activity, the focus of the lesson is to work on “thinking about others”. Before the lesson or in a lesson prior to this one, you can start working on the vocabulary terms “thinking about my ideas” versus “thinking about others ideas”. You can talk about situations when you need to think about other people’s ideas.
Setting Up For The Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking Activity
Last year, I made gingerbread man cookies that were different sizes. When I was dabbling at Hobby Lobby last year, I found these amazing cookie cutters that had small, medium and big sizes for gingerbread men. I couldn’t resist and bought them! They also have different sized ones with a boy and girl version on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link). Amazon also sells a set of three that you can get, too.
I also brought in different colored frosting and types of decorations for the gingerbread man cookies. For my students working on language skills, they got to work on describing by attributes and answering wh-questions from peers. My social skill students worked on thinking about others, but also had opportunities to work on waiting, requesting, turn taking, initiating, and responding with comments.
When I do this lesson, I usually push into the classroom and bring enough supplies for every student in the class. I did this with my K-2 and 3-5 special day classrooms. We partnered up each student and I have the teacher and instructional aids in the classroom help as I present the lesson. One student will be the creator and the other student is telling their partner what to create. If your students struggle with initiation or knowing the social language to ask, you can make visual conversational scripts to help them access the words during the lesson.
How to Organize & Maximize Social Skill Opportunities During The Lesson
For each step of the lesson, I have the student creating the cookie ask his/her partner a question. We first started with, “what size gingerbread man do you want?”. The partner would answer the question, and then the student would go to the designated cookie decorating station to request the cookie and a plate. Then, the student would come back and ask the partner what colored frosting the student wanted. We waited for each partner group to be finished before moving on to asking a new question. Once the first student decorated the cookie for his/her partner, the roles reverse.
We went through each step of making a cookie for someone else. Some of my friends had to learn how to be flexible when the person did not want the colored frosting or decorations that they wanted. It was a natural moment for us to talk about thinking about others and being flexible. You can also have students ask clarifying questions such as “do you want more frosting?” or “is this where you wanted the button?”
At the end of the lesson when everyone’s cookie was decorated, we also had students show their peers or teachers in the class their cookie. Students described each other’s cookies and we also talked about the steps that were needed to decorate the cookie. Before eating the cookie, the students had to say “thank you” to their partner for decorating their cookie. SO.MUCH.LANGUAGE, right!?
Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking With A Craft
If you don’t feel like baking gingerbread man cookies, you can do this same activity using a paper gingerbread man and creating a craft! Simply, print a blank gingerbread man template on brown construction paper or cardstock, grab art supply decorations (i.e. poms poms, glitter, wiggly eyes, sequences, paper cut out like frosting lines, etc) and glue.
Do the same set up as listed above, just use the craft items to have students make selections.
Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking With Playdoh Mats
Don’t want to make a mess with glue, glitter and scraps of paper? Then, do it Play-Doh style! You can buy Play-Doh for this activity on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link included for your convenience), which is my most favorite and time effective way, LOL, or you can make Play-Doh with this easy recipe HERE. Mommy SLP tip….I make the homemade Play-Doh with my own children as a fun bonding time and then take it to school for my speech therapy sessions. Of course, I make extra so my own children can have fun with homemade Play-Doh too.
Print out a blank gingerbread man template in color and then follow the same lesson plan outlined above, but use Play-Doh instead. You can have them add buttons, eyes, clothes, hair, frosting decoration and more.
Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking With Apps
You can even adapt this perspective taking activity to use with your iPad because there are gingerbread man creation apps. If you are a traveling SLP, or so swamped with paperwork that you don’t have time to prep any of the other versions above, this is for you! Here is one that is free, but it has ads on it.
Here is another gingerbread man cookie maker app that could be fun. Or you could have them decorate a gingerbread house instead!
Facebook Live with Tips and Info about Doing a Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking Activity
If you are more of a visual type of learner, you can head over to my Facebook page HERE and watch my Facebook Live I did a couple of Mondays ago with info about how to do this lesson in therapy.
If you need more easy holiday therapy ideas, check out my blog post from last year that is filled with some good ones! What holiday activities do you love to use for social skills? I love using Elf in speech therapy during this month.