I was in charge of our rotating preschool this morning and decided I was going to do the Gingerbread Man, meaning I would read the kids The Gingerbread Man and then do a hunt for the gingerbread man I'd made.
This was an amazing idea. Unfortunately, I kind of sabotaged myself. Not only had I donated the giant man cookie cutter but had also gotten rid of the small man cookie cutter. Oops. Since I had the gingerbread cookie dough all ready to go, I improvised and made small circle cookies.
(I won't even go into how I have all my Christmas books wrapped and had no idea which one was my Gingerbread Man book and had to cut open the end on all of them until I found the book. Which book turned out to be the Gingerbread BEAR, but since the kids were all 2 and 3, no one noticed that the cookie in the book had bear ears.)
We "read" the book and then I told them how I'd made them a gingerbread man cookie. (normally I'd have an issue about someone lying, especially about delicious treats, but in this case I think I'm ok.)
They followed me into the kitchen to find a note from the Gingerbread Man that sent us on a string of like 8ish clues that eventually led us to the oven, where the Gingerbread Man had headed to warm up.
And there we found yet another note with the frosted cookies.
I can't tell you how darling the kids all were for this activity. They were 100% into it, running from clue to clue, trying to catch that tricky cookie. The concerned look on my little one's face was adorable and something I'll remember for a while.
By the way, I love how the Gingerbread Man doesn't care that he used a sharpie and notecards, that he didn't feel the need to use stickers or scrapbook paper or fancy lettering. Or that he didn't start over when he messed up. He just crossed it out and kept writing. I think he knows that the Kids. Do. Not. Care. and he knows the reason he did this particular activity was for 3 year olds. I say this because this all goes against my perfectionist tendencies and on one level kills me slowly. But then I tell myself that sometime good enough is good enough and the rest of me sings the Hallelujah Chorus and tells the perfectionist part of me to zip it.
This leaving-of-the-cookies idea opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. The Gingerbread Man could leave ANYTHING for the kids. We could find Oreos, for heaven's sake, which might just save the day sometime when there is no time/energy/caring for chilling, rolling, freezing, cutting, baking, decorating.
This recipe for gingerbread cookies was awesome. I ate way more than I care to admit. And I used this frosting recipe and put the frosting in a quart freezer baggie with a corner cut off to decorate them.
They are delicious. You've been warned.