Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Mean, Kids Will Believe Anything: Kindergarten Gingerbread Hunt

J'accuse!

Every Friday a different mom comes into Hank's class to do some kind of cooking activity with them. My day was approaching and I was low on ideas. It might have been Bloody Marys if the teacher hadn't come to the rescue. She had it all figured out.

I went to the class in the morning and read that Gingerbread Baby book to them. Then I pulled out the supplies I'd brought, and using a big sheet pan we got from the cafeteria, I shaped a big gingerbread man. The kids loved watching this. We gave him a few rudimentary decorations--eyes, mouth, buttons--nothing too fussy. Then we took the big pan to the cafeteria, where the lunch ladies were already our confederates.

We handed over the big gingerbread man to them, exhorting them, "Please keep a close eye on him! And whatever you do, don't open the oven door too early! These guys are very crafty and quick!" They promised that they would guard him carefully, and then they slid the pan into the big industrial oven. The kids watched this as carefully as if they were UN nuclear facility inspectors.

We went back to the classroom and read the next in the Gingerbread Baby series, Gingerbread Friends. As we finished, one of Hank's teachers came running into the room, the sheepish lunch ladies right behind her. "You guys! You'll never believe what happened! The good news is, your little cookies are ready, but the big one that Hank's mom made got away!" (She had pre-prepared little individual men for them to decorate, and the ladies bore them in on a sheet pan.) "He's running loose in the school, he could be anywhere!" she said.

The kids absolutely erupted. One little boy clapped his hands to his forehead and said, "I knew this would happen!" They were all on their feet and ready for action. A few ran out into the hall and peered in all directions. After a few moments of complete frenzy, the teacher drew their attention to a little card that had been taped outside the door. As you might imagine, it said "Run run run, as fast as you can..." and it had a little rhyme with a clue for them to solve.

The clues were pitched right at their level, and the clues led us from the classroom, to the gym, to the nurse's office, to the library, to the front desk, and finally, right into the very heart of darkness, the principal's office.

The teacher appointed Hank to go up to her desk and politely state our business. The kids all crowded around and he said, "Um, Mrs. B, we are looking all over the school for our gingerbread man who got away, have you seen him? He is brown?"

The principal was actually chewing when the class came in, and the cookie man was lying right there on her desk. She had partly covered it with a piece of paper, but the sharp-eyed kindergarteners spotted him.

It was so hilarious. They were kind of outraged with her! She said, "I wanted to eat him for breakfast!" And one girl goes, "You should eat breakfast at home." Like, please lady.

So maybe now the kids believe that baked goods can become sentient and develop volition, but that it's okay to eat them anyway. I don't know. But it was the cutest dang thing!

I'm off now to eat a special lunch at school with Hank, part of an absolute parade of merriment that is unfolding over the next few days. Are y'all hip-deep in this stuff now? I love it all. xoxo

20 comments:

KathyS said...

Gack! The cuteness! It's killing me (and making me want frosted gingerbread ... )!!!

Amy said...

Goodness. Well, here in Virginia, schools are gearing up not for a week of merriment but for one of benchmark testing, and you can be sure that's what OUR principal is dining on at her desk.

Standardized tests, or creative experience. Which rocks the school day and keeps kids engaged in the notion of using their brains?

Amy said...

(I didn't mean for such a sour comment on your sweet and lovely post - it made me laugh, it really did!)

Becky said...

That's okay Amy! I can't believe they're doing all that right now, what bad timing! All our state testing junk is in the spring. Humbug!!

Jane said...

When I was a kid, my mom told me I should eat the gingerbread man's legs first, so he couldn't run away. I always did, but it seemed a touch cruel, so I decapitated him immediately afterwards.

Elizabeth said...

How adorable. And yes, we're deep into the parade of merriment, and I actually relish it as well.

AlGalMom said...

Hysterical. I am sending this to all of the kindergarten teachers I know!

Amy said...

That is just the sweetest thing. I love how passionate kids are! And gullible--that part is awesome too. :) We have a week to go and then school is out for the year, so it's pretty much merriment from here on out!

delaine said...

What a delightful day for Hank's class! Clever and creative. I loved reading your account of it. Thanks for sharing. When I see Hank next week, I'm going to ask him to tell me all about it.

Elle said...

Lunch ladies are the beating heart of any smooth-running school facility.

Star said...

The two kids with the comments made me laugh out loud, thanks!

Kate said...

I hope he remembers that forever. Genius!!!

M said...

This was so sweet I told everyone I know about it in hopes that Kindergarteners around the world will one day get to have this experience.

M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jo said...

Too too fabulous! I'm off to make gingerbread now even though my children are grown up I will enjoy the images

Meghan said...

I've so often thought of the delight and sweetness of this post, school principal and all, in light of Friday's disaster. So grateful to the many committed and creative educators...and so very sad about innocence shattered.

delaine said...

I agree with Meghan. This post and adorable photo of those happy, eager little children becomes especially poignant after Friday's heartbreak. Gingerbread Man hunts should be the experience of little six year olds.

Sjn said...

what an adorable and heartwarming story. You made my morning!

crazylovescompany said...

That may be the best parent at school story I have ever heard. I'm going to check out the story too!

Noan said...

Yes, yes! I am subsitute teaching as a kindergarten teacher at a school for the deaf. We had an escapee gingerbread Man also. We chased that critter all over campus and finally found him in the gym - the P.E. teacher munching away. Kindergarteners are so open to storytelling. It is truly a magical age.