The Day I Made My Preschooler Wear A Gingerbread Man To School

My preschooler came home from school the other day with a note asking them to dress up as a fairy tale character
We were given a list to choose from and I began to panic
Somewhere along the way as a parent, I concluded that the kids wouldn’t have missed out much even if they didn’t read fairy tales

That was about 5 years ago, I was 4 years into my job as a parent
As a new parent, I was full of zest and energy
It was like being in a new job but with a steep learning curve and the learning is on the job most of the time
Navigating through the maze of parenthood turned out to be the most exciting and rewarding job I have ever taken

I asked myself lots of questions but many times, there were no right or wrong answers
Different experts say different things, most of the time, they can’t even agree among themselves
The grandparents think their ways are the proven ways (didn’t we turn out ok ?!) and other parents have their own opinions
Most of the time I ended up with my own answers and I learned to trust this thing called mother instinct

Home is a living classroom and going to school made up a small part of learning

Walk the walk and talk the talk because these little people are watching us all the time and there is no better way to teach than being an example ourselves

So we looked through the list of fairy tale characters and thankfully Gingerbread Man was in the list
We bought the book from a garage sale and he loves it, though I was initially worried that he would be upset that Gingerbread Man couldn’t outwit the fox and got eaten up, which was what happened to his elder brother when he was this age

Thankfully he wasn’t too bothered and we decided to make Gingerbread Man costume using used cardboard in our garage

It was our first dress up party in an American school and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so I went around asking other moms
I found out most girls would dress up as princesses and most boys as knights or princes
I hadn’t come across any billy goat or little pig and was beginning to worry that my little cardboard Gingerbread Man would be laugh at

I spent some time talking to him and found out that he actually wouldn’t mind his friends laughing because he thought it would be funny
I was grateful for his innocence and positivity, things that were often lost with growing up and valuable reminder for me as an adult now

But even with his assurance, I wasn’t quite sure especially when I got comments from my sisters that our cardboard Gingerbread Man look more like a body mask than a costume

They were right actually, so I tried to entice him with a trip to Target to choose the most fanciful costumes but he rejected and insisted on wearing a cardboard one

And that was how we ended up with an afternoon, fiddling with cardboard




He wore his Gingerbread Man to school yesterday
He had a blast
His friends laughed at it, his teachers loved it
and best, he could run as fast as he could like Gingerbread Man with the cardboard strapped on his back like rocket booster !

I realised that I could have spent the afternoon with him at Target, trying to choose the coolest costume and he probably walked away learning not more than what money can buy
But in this case, we learned something from each other, a bit on innocence and positivity and a whole lot more about the possibility of a used cardboard sitting in our garage


Note : Last year we took part in the Global Cardboard Challenge in Singapore and had a blast
We made a pinball machine after being inspired by Cain’s story
This year the fun is back again, find out more about Voyage of Dream 2013

It’s a pity we can’t join in the fun this year but if you have an Instagram account and would love to share your cardboard creation
Upload your picture onto Instagaram including the hashtag #CardboardChallenge and tag me @4malmal because I would love to take a peek at your creations !



  1. Adora @ Gingerbreadmum says:

    I have tears in my eyes! It is a wonderful simple creation, yes, but the message behind it is so powerful!!!

    I just wrote about why I absolutely can’t do homeschooling 100% (I know you didn’t talk about HS, but wait, I am getting there…) because I can’t recreate the school environment at home, but you just hit the nail right on the head with “Home is a living classroom and going to school made up a small part of learning”. LOVE IT!!!

    Ahem ps. Of course I love the GINGERBREADman outfit. Ya know? 🙂 GINGERBREAD? *wink wink*

    • malmal says:

      Thanks Adora for your comment and should I say ‘great minds think alike ?!’ although I know, we are far from being great … here’s sending over a virtual *hug*. The gingerbread man does remind me of you too 🙂

  2. Pamela Tan says:

    So cute! love the little Gingerbread man! yes! I find that there is more satisfaction in making up stuff than getting them store bought. Love how Mcs likes the idea of making his friends laugh. My kind of hunour! hahahha

  3. Nat says:

    Superlove this gingerbread man costume, craft activity that both of you bonded over and the lovely, simple yet valuable lesson it has definitely taught me too. Your son’s positivity and assurance is so cute and heartwarming! Thank you so much for sharing this post 🙂

  4. Susan says:

    Marcus is so sporting and he sure has a fun sense of humour. Glad to see how he liked a simple costume and had mroe fun with it than something purchased from the shops.

  5. haifang says:

    hey Lyn, thanks for your comment. He is at this age where his world is built around fun. It doesn’t bother him if it’s store bought or homemade, complicated or simple, expensive or made from junk…he just think it’s fun strapping the costume behind his back !and I wish he will stay this way

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