Paper Fruit Parfaits for 1st Graders

It seems like every year another new head teacher presents this game as though it was new. It’s not officially in YICA, but it’s pretty much the defacto way to rework YICA Unit 4 into something passable. 

The idea here is to make a pretend parfait shop with lots of possible fruit toppings to go on your ice cream or yogurt. One kid acts as the employee making the parfait, and the other is the customer. It’s possible to do two at a time for this activity, but I’ve never found a way to up it to much more than that and keep order.

The kid playing make believe employee starts by putting some tissue ice cream into the cup, then asks the other kid what fruits they like three times. After each question, kid employee adds some crumpled up paper bits that represent that fruit to the cup. Then, when finished, tops the fruit parfait off with a spoon and hands it off to the customer kid.

In small classes, I have the kids trade places after that. In larger classes, they run two at a time for each gig. In all cases, I have the rest of the class watch and giggle at their friends play acting as grown ups in a store. They find the whole scenario hilarious. It’s especially fun when a kid drops some “fruit” and tries to put it in the cup anyway. Oh no! It’s dirty! Bad employee! You’re fired! In talkative classes, everyone chant’s the target language together with the employee kid. “What fruits do you like?”

The cups have to be plastic, of course, which kind makes it hard to find cute ones to work with. For this game I ended up, this year, getting plastic martini glasses from Flying Tiger and using those with tongs and food trays from Daiso. The fruits are crumpled up construction paper and the ice cream is a tin of cut up tissues. Not going to lie, crumpling up all that paper does a number on one’s hands.

I bring a paper bag to the class to act as a trash can for the “finished parfaits”. The kids like to pretend they’re eating them, then slam dunk them in the “trash”. Yummy! Yummy! Gomi.

It’s a colorful, cute game to play, but it’s not without it’s drawbacks. Because of the large number of materials, not everyone can play at once. Some kids will get bored watching their friends go at the game while they wait their turn. And, resetting all those little colored papers back into the right tin is a chore. But, it’s much better than the YICA alternative. Who wants to sing for a straight 45 minutes?

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