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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
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So, my youngest (grain sensitive celiac -no dairy) is in JK this year. His teacher (very lovely) asked me today for ideas for an upcoming project she is planning: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees made from celery, cheeze whiz (people still eat this stuff-shocking) and Alpha-Bit cereal. She wanted to know what I could provide as an alternative. Ha! Lovely thought, but I``m tapped out. I suggested Crofters jam as a sticky medium instead of cheeze whiz, but didn`t have an alternative the alphabet cereal. Well meaning, she also asked for cookie dough as they`re making alphabet cookies - using alphabet cookie cutters. This makes me so nervous, am I crazy or what. I said I`d make the dough and send in a cookie tray that wasn`t contaminated. I am going to search for alphabet cookie cutters this weekend.( Hours out searching that I could spend on catching up on necessary house work - or enjoying my children#s company.)

Moms, this is an all call for your suggestions. How do I help make my son`s experience at school normal.

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I want to say that I have seen alphabet cookie cutters at Michael's. They were Wilton's, made of plastic, in a cylindrical plastic container in their Wilton Cake decorating area. I think you can print out a 40% off coupon from their website to save some money.

Why do the chicka chicka boom boom trees have to be made from food? . . . what a mess. They have self-adhesive/sticker alphabets . . . peeling off stickers is a good fine motor skill activity . . . and stick them to construction paper trees. If they want a little more of a project, they can glue strips of green construction paper to empty paper towel tubes to make trees.

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This would annoy me. There are PLENTY of things this teacher could be doing for this unit that would not exclude your child. (The stickers are a great idea) If they are making the dough in the classroom, there will be flour residue on everything (including your child) for weeks. Rather than have you out shopping for alternatives, she should be looking for a different, equally fun activity. I try to be 100% accommodating - providing substitutions when necessary - but these activities don't seem "necessary." My son hates it when he has to do something different - he just likes to blend in with the rest of the kids. I think I would even keep him home on the day they make the cookies.

Cara

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oh wow, thats a toughie. I could see making the trees out of pipecleaners and some felt, but food?

Here is something my prek did, we made frog tshirts. From what i remember, the teacher had the parents buy a simple tee (or send in money for it) and the teacher had some craft paint and some frog stamps, along with that paint stuff you can write with. It turned out really neat and each shirt was personalized.

I'm sure something like that could be done for the trees.

Another thought would be to use modeling clay (assuming it isn't full of gluten or grains) to do this.

As for the cookies, I like your idea. Michels should have them

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Thank you ladies! I agree, Janet, that this would be a terribly messy task. And how do you monitor safety of a celiac kid with 20-something 3 and 4 years olds milling about with cookie dough on their hands? I'm a basket case just thinking about it. I'm going to check out Michael's, though I'm not sure if I'm going to send him to school that day ( I agree with you Cara! ). Maybe I'll take the day off work and have a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom day with my little man, in a gluten-free environment! Shadowicewolf: I'd sent in some rice flour playdough that he was using to make letters, but it keeps getting too sticky and messy, apparently. I'm more and more inclined just to have a messy alphabet day at home. On a positive note, my little guy seems to be moving along (on a cognitive level) since not getting accidently glutened at the daycare, now that he is at school. Perhaps, all the more reason to keep him home on the day they make the cookies.

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I would give a big +1 to keeping him at home that day. It's a bit unbelievable that a teacher would know of his health issues, yet still introduce such a poison to his system all around where he's breathing it and in direct or indirect contact (intentionally). Even my wife is so sensitive that she reminds me when to wash my hands if she sees me touch a countertop or tablecloth that may be unclean (with crumbs containing gluten). For a school to even create such an atmosphere in his direct work space (the classroom) is questionable for their judgement in light of his condition.

If I sound paranoid, I certainly am. I know the misery from being glutened and I cannot imagine putting myself, let alone a small child, in an environment so rich with dangerous things that can make us sick. Hopefully no parent will send in dough or dough contents that contain loose flour. Poor kid should never have to worry about so many contaminants when around people who already know about his condition and the dangers they pose to his health.

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All the ideas here are amazing! I would add that it sounds like this teacher/school might need more education on Celiac and cross-contamination. Now is probably not the optimal time...but likely before she decides to do Christmas cookies with all the kids!

I know how exhausting this is! I signed my kids up for a Science camp this year and found out three days before that 18 of the 22 experiments involved food. I thought about pulling them from camp, but the education director was AMAZING and replaced every gluten item in consult with me (yep, talk about hours and hours) for ALL the children in the 15 kid camp at their own expense. (We were so thrilled at the end of camp that we donated to the organization).

Interestingly, our Natural History Museum did a candy-free Halloween event this year. I so appreciate when celebrating is not food-based!

Hang in there!

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Thank you all!

So, I ran around this weekend (Michael's, Bulk Barn, Walmart, The Super Store), but could not source ABC cookie cutters. I did pick up a couple of buckets of ABC foam stickers, and sent one into school with a note saying I couldn't find cutters - but not brave enough yet to say I'll be keeping him at home on this day. I still hope to source some, to make them with him at home - but will likely have to order them online, and likely won't get them in time for our ALPHABET playdate.

I think you're right: I do need to find literature for the teacher on Celiac and cross-contamination.

I too, appreciate when celebrating is not food-based.

You hit the jack-pot with the Science Camp! How awesome for your children - with your advocacy.

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Isn't Velveeta cheese gluten free ? So the teacher should make the entire project gluten free by using Velveeta instead of cheezewhiz, the celery, and then any gluten free cereal, (Rice chex, corn chex) or something like raisins for the "coconuts" or M&M candies. I doubt she has thought of THIS option. I did a google image search of "chicka chicka boom boom" trees and not all of the classroom craft options have letters. Some were just fancy coconut trees. In fact, compared to a lot of others, the celery ones look sort of sad. :rolleyes:

Ditto with the cookie dough, whatever is used for that should be gluten free, although I am rather shocked that ANY teacher would use raw cookie dough and expose children to the possibilities of getting raw egg on their hands from the dough, unless it were a vegan dough. There would have to be serious handwashing afterwards.

Sam's Mill makes a gluten free corn pasta in alphabet shapes, but the letters wouldn't have to be edible as long as they were clean.

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Thank you all!

So, I ran around this weekend (Michael's, Bulk Barn, Walmart, The Super Store), but could not source ABC cookie cutters. I did pick up a couple of buckets of ABC foam stickers, and sent one into school with a note saying I couldn't find cutters - but not brave enough yet to say I'll be keeping him at home on this day. I still hope to source some, to make them with him at home - but will likely have to order them online, and likely won't get them in time for our ALPHABET playdate.

I think you're right: I do need to find literature for the teacher on Celiac and cross-contamination.

I too, appreciate when celebrating is not food-based.

You hit the jack-pot with the Science Camp! How awesome for your children - with your advocacy.

love you avatar, Buckminster would be pleased, lol.
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Isn't Velveeta cheese gluten free ? So the teacher should make the entire project gluten free by using Velveeta instead of cheezewhiz, the celery, and then any gluten free cereal, (Rice chex, corn chex) or something like raisins for the "coconuts" or M&M candies. I doubt she has thought of THIS option. I did a google image search of "chicka chicka boom boom" trees and not all of the classroom craft options have letters. Some were just fancy coconut trees. In fact, compared to a lot of others, the celery ones look sort of sad. :rolleyes:

Ditto with the cookie dough, whatever is used for that should be gluten free, although I am rather shocked that ANY teacher would use raw cookie dough and expose children to the possibilities of getting raw egg on their hands from the dough, unless it were a vegan dough. There would have to be serious handwashing afterwards.

Sam's Mill makes a gluten free corn pasta in alphabet shapes, but the letters wouldn't have to be edible as long as they were clean.

Great ideas. But, my little man reacts to grains and dairy.

The raisin idea for coconuts is brilliant!

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