The Gingerbread Man

Family fun activity for the Summer Hols!

The Summer Holidays are now in full swing? To make them more enjoyable we've come up with some family fun activities fusing stories with Mother Nature. Try this at home and send us what you made to our facebook page.

I remember the shock I felt as a child when I learnt the outcome of the story “The Gingerbread Man.” As an adult you rejoice in the fate of the cocky little gingerbread man who was eventually gobbled by a fox! When you're young, it's a bit of a shock to learn that not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

First appearing in print in the USA, May 1875, the story tells of a childless couple who bake a gingerbread boy to fill the void in their lives. Once he is baked, he jumps straight from the oven and runs away. He is chased by many different animals and people, all wanting to eat him, as he runs he taunts each one with the repetitive catch phrase,

“Run! Run! As fast as you can! You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man!”

They all form a long line each running in hot pursuit after him. Eventually he comes to a river where a sly and hungry fox offers him a ride which the gingerbread boy accepts, which is ultimately his downfall, as the fox then eats him.

The story ultimately highlights the dangers of putting your trust in strangers and shows children that honesty is the best policy.

A Slice or 2 of Gingerbread History!

  • Unmarried women in England have been known to eat gingerbread “husbands” for luck in the hope to meet the real thing.
  • According to the Swedish tradition, you can make a wish, using gingerbread. First, put the gingerbread in your palm and then make a wish. You then have to break the gingerbread with your other hand. If the gingerbread brakes in to three, the wish will come true.
  • Nuremberg in Germany has the title, “Gingerbread Capital of the World”.
  • Ginger is a plant native to India and China which is prized throughout the world for its culinary and medicinal uses.
  • According to the Guinness Book of Records the world’s largest gingerbread man weighed 1435.2 pounds, that is a whopping 651 kg!

The Activity 

This weeks activity involves working with a friend to create your very own gingerbread man outdoors. First of all, gather a good amount sticks of all shapes and sizes (At least several large handfuls!)

Then, one of you lies down flat on the ground as the other traces the body shape of the person on the floor with sticks. Get up carefully not moving the sticks as an outline of your body will be left. Now, decorate your gingerbread man shape with anything that you can find from nature.                                                                                                      

Please Post your gingerbread men made from nature on our Settle Stories Facebook page. We look forward seeing all your amazing creations soon. At the end of the Summer we'll be looking at contributions from all the family activities (found on our blog) on our Facebook page. Our favourite one will win a free forest school storytelling session in Settle at a mutually agreed time with Jane Corbett. Tell all your friends about the competition and get them to join in the fun too. The more the merrier.

Good Luck from us all at Settle Stories and we can't wait to see what you make.

Written by volunteer writer Jane Corbett