Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar Activity & Freebie

When I was in college, I completed one of my observations in a first grade classroom.  This was over 12 years ago now - eeeek!  I never particularly wanted to teach younger kids, I always thought 3rd or 4th grade was my place.  But, my first job was in first grade and it remains my favorite.  They make so much growth and it is sooooo important because of the development of reading skills. 
Anyways, one of the activities the teacher I observed used that the kids just loved and I continued to use in a variety of ways in my own classroom was  a "Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?" song/activity. 
Here's how it works.  Students sit in a circle and everyone receives a card with a number, shape, word, letter, etc.  The cards can really have any skill on them that you want the kids to practice, but should be something simple and quick, as well as something large enough for everyone to see around the circle (so not a whole word problem but a math fact would be fine).  Each card is the cookie.  Students should hold their cards facing out so that the other students can see what's on them.
Let's pretend the cards have sight words on them like above.  I choose a student to start and read the word on their card (THE) by saying, "THE stole the cookies from the cookie jar!"

The students have to look at their cards and figure out who I am talking about.  The student holding THE says, "Who me?  It couldn't be!"  

The whole class then says, "Then WHO?"  (They LOVE this part.)

The child who was accused then has to choose another child by reading their card.  Pretend he chooses someone holding the word HERE.  He would say, "HERE stole the cookies from the cookie jar!"  That child says, "Who me?  It couldn't be!" The class shouts, "Then WHO?" and the game continues.  I have students put their cards down, sit on them, or collect them once they have been chosen so we know who hasn't had a turn. The child to go last is the child who must have stolen the cookies haha.  (Most kids find this funny...if you have a really young, sensitive child they might not though so make light of it!)

This activity is perfect for kinder and first graders since it allows them to practice simple skills in fun ways, learn to take turns, and also helps with their oral development. You could easily use the activity in a small group too, it would just go much faster (which might be a good thing)!  It would also be perfect for learning names at the beginning of the year.  
I created a product just for this activity using cookies of course!  This product contains cookie sets for upper and lower case letters (use to identify letter names OR sounds), CVC words (a set of 24 for each vowel sound) as well as a set with the first 108 Fry sight words (with an editable page to add more as needed).  You can choose which or how many cards to use at a time based on the number of students you are working with. 

And as a freebie I made a Christmas set with numbers!  I don't usually create math activities, but this was quick and easy to do.  Plus, this is actually what I remember those first graders doing this activity with years ago.  They were simply practicing reading their numbers.  Numbers up to 150 are included for you.  If your kids love the activity, check out the product above for ELA too.  Keep in mind that it will take some practice for the kids to get the hang of the activity, but once they do it will move faster and you can use it for a whole bunch of things.  

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