My kids go to a nonprofit preschool, where fundraising is a big deal. We love the school so I’m happy to help out. And lots of parents do way more than I do — spearheading building projects, hosting charity art sales, building NASA-esque rockets out of recycled containers, etc. I try to take on tasks I know I can complete. This year I’m in charge of the cakewalk. Simple enough, right? I mean the very definition of cakewalk is “an easy task.”
For the uninitiated, here’s how a cakewalk works: You place numbers on the floor, say 1-12, depending on how many players you’ve got. Players stand on one of the floor numbers. As music plays, kids walk from number to number, then when the music stops, so do the kids. A number is then pulled from a hat or bowl to see who wins the cake. Voila!
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It’s a simple game — less complicated even than Musical Chairs. But here’s the best part: Even if you don’t win the cake, every child playing gets a consolation prize like a cookie or a cupcake. Or, even better, if you do a cakewalk the way my mama taught me, every kid who plays gets to play until they win a cake. Yep, that means an individual kid can circle around until his or her number is finally called (or they just pass out dizzy). Granted, you have to have a lot of cakes if you’re playing this way.
But here’s why I’ve taken charge to make sure this corny carnival game and staple of church bake sales gets passed down to the next generation: it’s a great game everyone can play (kids of all ages & abilities), where everyone wins something, and that thing they win isn’t a crappy piece of plastic. It’s a cake! Made with love and creativity! And hopefully not too much sugar. (It doesn’t have to be a sugary concoction; it just has to look cool — we had some vegan Darth Vader cupcakes.)
Cakewalks are also a game done to music — might I suggest something from Rockabye — that inspires kids to parade around and dance on stage. Awesome. This is a tradition I can get behind. Shouldn’t we all live in a world where we learn to play for cake, dance with our friends, and share our prizes, too?