Friday, November 8, 2013

Blindfold Cupcake Decorating

What happens when you combine cupcakes, colored frosting, candy, more colored frosting and blindfolds? A mess. And a LOT of laughing. And more mess. Possibly with some accents and bonnets thrown in. Oh wait, and did I mention that there is a mess?

But beyond that mess is a purpose, and a history. The first time we did this activity was with pizza, three years ago. The campers worked in pairs or small groups. One was blindfolded, the other gave directions. We gave them very little instruction initially, just that the learner could not be touched or physically guided in anyway and that they must stay blindfolded. Blue cabin had four or five pizzas to make, but because of a cookie sheet shortage, two of these pizzas were going to be made in a pan with 1” sides.  Dough was spread out, a camper was blindfolded, a few more instructed and we sat back and watched. The first few went about as well as you could imagine, with a very interesting distribution of ingredients, but they were still edible. The problem came when blue cabin got to the pans with sides. Sauce was poured and then more sauce, until finally someone convinced the “learner” to stop. Apparently the lack of side on normal pan had been some sort of cue, and without it information of when to stop was missing. 

At this point in time the campers realized that they needed to remove some sauce, and gave instructions to Abby on how to get sauce back into the bowl. Unfortunately for them, they were lacking in clarity, and although the scooping off occurred for a few minutes, it was all done with the wrong side of the spoon. Frustration occurred, and they decided to just go on and add the cheese. Needless to say, the “pizza soup”, as we refer to it was not edible, but a good lesson was learned. Clear communication is important! If the learner is not understanding something it is not their fault. Change the way something is being taught or explained instead of getting angry or frustrated.

The purpose of blindfolded cupcake decorating is the same, but it allows for more creativity and an increased challenge. And the campers love it, to the point that we were going to decorate “fancy cupcakes” instead this year instead of blindfolded cupcakes like last year, but they refused. Watch the video below of Rachelle giving instructions to Helen. Notice the clear directions and the focus despite the distractions and accent.