The best Gingerbread Unit I did was about 7 years ago (whoa, really?) when I had a class gingerbread man that they all named go missing. Come to find out, he was travelling around the U.S. of A. We received post cards from all over the country letting us know what "Sweetie" had been up to. Of course, that takes a lot of pre-planning BUT I actually saved all of the post cards, maps, materials, so I could actually do it all over again. We made MISSING signs and charted on a map each of the states he had been to. The children were so happy when he finally returned and I never got to put him away for that year. He got pretty worn out or, the way I like to look at it, he was very loved.
Another fun activity I have done in the past is for the children to design boats to get a real cookie across the river without sinking (he might not get eaten by a fox, but we all know what happens to a soggy cookie-yuck!). It is a great planning and designing activity and the children have so much fun creating their boats and then testing them with their little cookies ready to set sail.
Of course, what classroom studying Gingerbread Men would be complete without some Goofy Gingerbread Men hanging around? My Goofy turkey patterns hung all over the USA (maybe internationally--let me know if so) with over 16,000 people downloading my FREE pattern in a year. Click on the picture below if you are interested in making cute gingerbread men (kids, to be politically correct) to hang around in your classroom.