What's your favorite "Back to School" activity? Linky Party

I love having great "Back to School" activities for my students.  I think it's so important to make those first few days fun and engaging for your newbies.  It sets the stage for the entire year!  My absolute favorite activity to do with my 1st graders is a Gingerbread Man hunt.  I orginally found this idea on Proteacher and then I created poems to go along with each location.  Here's what you do.
1.  Place the notes (see attachment below) in the correct places around the school.  Arrange for someone to set Little Debbie Gingerbread Man cookies on student's desks while you're on your hunt.
2. Read "The Gingerbread Man."
 3.  Read the first note (see attachment below) that you have cliped to the back of the book.  Make a HUGE deal about how you can't believe that the Gingerbread Man was here and how he left a note. 
4..  Explain to the students that you are going to have to go look for him.  Tell them that they have to show you how to line up quietly in the hall and walk the right way in order to go on the Gingerbread Man hunt. (This is excellent practice for hallway expectations.)
5. Walk around the school, introducing each important place in the building as you go.  Collect the notes and continue making a big deal about each note and how you are getting so close to catching the Gingerbread Man.  You will be amazed at how into it they will get.
6.  The last note will direct them back to the classroom where they will find a Gingerbread Man on each of their desks. (Make sure you prearrange for someone to do this for you.)
 My students remember this all year.  I almost always see it at the end of the year written as one of their favorite activities.  Download the notes by clicking on the image below.
Now it's your turn!!  I would LOVE to hear what your absolute FAVORITE back to school activity is.  Link up below.  Make sure you post a link back to this blog so others can check out everyone's activities.  I am so excited to get even more "Back to School" ideas :)  Spread the word so we can get tons of ideas!  The party will be open through August 1st.


  1. Just linked up! You button is so darn cute I had to grab it :)

    Sunny Days In Second Grade

  2. How cute is this? Wonderful!! I just found your blog through Teaching Blog Addict and am now a follower!

  3. Jodi, I love you! I was thinking of doing a ginderbread hunt, but now you have made it soooo super easy (and so much cuter than I could ever do). THANK YOU!
    An Open Door

  4. I linked up to. Also I linked your party to my "Lots of Linkies" party, an organized reference for all the parties on blogs.

    Yearn to Learn Blog

  5. Great idea Jodi! I linked up too. Thanks for hosting!

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  6. I always do my Gingerbread Man unit at Christmas time. Usually the 2 weeks before Christmas. I buy those same Gingerbead Man cookies and I have each student take ONE bite of it and then we graph which part they bit off (the arm, leg, head, etc.). The kids love the Gingerbread Man unit best of all!


  7. Another cute idea that I've seen that goes with this is, if you have a "summer kindergarten camp" like some schools do or a back to school night before school begins, read the story (or have a section of the room set up for parents to do it with the kids at open house) and let them make "wanted" posters detailing where he was last seen and for others to be on the lookout for him. They can tape it up in the halls anywhere on their way out of school that day or night. Then on the first day of school do what you have suggested. Builds a lot of excitement wondering where he went.

  8. Have you seen the book, "Gingerbread Man Loose in the School?" It's exactly what you would think it is! Our kinder team always does the gingerbread hunt (but they use their class mascots), and when I saw this book I thought, "Now why didn't they write this?"

    Mandy! :)

  9. I am going to do a hunt of sometime but am not sure if I want to do the gingerbread hunt or a chicka-chicka one. So cute and fun!
    Kinder By Golly

  10. I am your newest follower! I love all of the first day activities. I really like the idea of the gingerbread man! THANK YOU! I do a combination of some of the ones already listed. So, I won't link up this time. I added you to my blog roll!!
    Live Love Laugh Everyday In Kindergarten

  11. I love your blog! I am also your newest follower! I want to link up and join your LINKY party and share my ideas. How do you get google docs or other documents to load up on your post? I have tried it and failed. Also when I copy and paste items into google docs it changes my cute fonts. Is there a better way?Thanks!!

    Tales of a Third Grade

  12. Love the Gingerbread Man story & ideas--one problem though, what if you have a child like our daughter? She has celiac disease. If she came to her desk and found a cookie on it (gluten), she would be very upset. Do you clear the treat with parents first? Our daughter would not eat the cookie, but she would be rather upset about needing to clean the gluten off her desk before she will sit there & do any work.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful idea, just really wondering about those who can't enjoy the whole experience. Maybe you have not had a child with celiac disease in your class yet?

  13. We read "The Kissing Hand" on the first day. We then go hunting for Chester. While we are gone the Kindergarten teacher puts cookies on the desks and sets Chester on my director's chair. The cookies are hands with a chocolate kiss in the middle. A local lady makes them for me and they are so cute!

  14. I LOVE the gingerbread man hunt idea! I just linked up, and I'm a brand new blogger! I'm excited to be back in 1st grade this year! It is definitely the place to be ;)

  15. Thanks so much for hosting this party!! I'll be a first year teacher in August and I really needed these ideas!!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  16. @MandyTaylor, I have to find that book. I've never heard of it! I will be purchasing that one for sure. THANKS!!

    @Laurel, You are absolutely right. This activity would not be done until I had all health information back from parents, which they complete at Back to School Night. If I had a child with a particular allergy or celiac disease, I would either not do this activity or I would adjust it as needed. There are some really great gluten free gingerbread recipes that I would have no problem making instead of using the Little Debbie treats.

  17. Such a cute idea! I'm going to use this for sure this year! Quick question, what type of font did you use for the gingerbread scavenger hunt? It's so cute!


  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. I love doing a gingerbread man hunt with the kids on the first day! I'm not sure who enjoys it more :) Instead of reading The Gingerbread Man we read The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School. We make a list of all the places he goes and the order and we use that as our guide around the school. I have my neighbor teacher go in the room while we're gone and she leaves us a note (saying that we just barely missed him but he hopes we enjoy the treat he left behind), gingerbread cookies and she puts my stuffed gingerbread man in my rocking chair. Hmmm almost makes me ready to go back to school but not completely :-D

    Sorry my comment is so long!

  20. Thank you so much for the fabulous linky party! So many great ideas!
    Counting with Coffee

  21. The Linky Party closed on me :(
    Here's my post anyway...

    Happy reading!

  22. Great website, looks very clean and organized. Keep up the good work! antibacterial

  23. I missed it :( I have a scavenger hunt that goes with The Kissing Hand. Sweet book, fun activity that involves technology integration...


    The First Grade Derby

  24. Just saw this Jodi! When I taught first grade I did a gingerbread man hunt each year and LOVED it! Your cards are much cuter than mine were. I am sharing these with others at my school! Thanks so much!-Yvonne :)Sassy in Second

  25. We love growing TickleMe Plants in the classroom and watching how the leaves fold up and the branches fall down when Tickled! What a fun way to excite kids about plants and nature.
    The TickleMe Plant classroom kit even comes with the TickleMe Plant book now.

  26. Thank You! I'll be doing this with my Girl Scout troop for a Scavenger Hunt fun patch

  27. I was searching for who made these notes! My colleague and I used them with the kids and had a blast! I just updated my post to give you credit. Thank you. It was so much fun.

  28. Hi am a teacher in Missouri. My maiden name is Southard.
    Just wondering if we are relatives!!!???? How neat that would be?!



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