• Shawna

“The Runaway Pizza”: Using escapism to turn make-believe into reality.

Have you ever had a day that feels like Groundhog day? We’ve had some of those in our homeschool learning journey: Get up, read, pick a subject or two to work on, walk the dog, eat lunch, work on a project, make supper, go to bed, repeat.

We needed to break up the monotony.

At dinner the other night my oldest spontaneously decided we needed to have a “Crazy Hair Day”. Not one for dressing up myself, Crazy Hair Day is certainly something I can get behind! Not only did the girls go to bed excited, but they woke up early, and also worked together to come up with hair styles for themselves and me!

That morning, after our hair salon closed for learning, I read “The Runaway Pizza” to the girls to settle into our bodies for learning, and it struck me that this story is so much more than just a fantasy about a pizza slice that wants to be free! It tied right into how we were using a “theme” (Crazy Hair Day) to shift the tone of our learning environment from work to play.

One of the sayings that upset me the most is “seeing is believing”. This affirms that for something to be real we must have proof of it in physical form for it to exist or be true.

I think nothing could be farther from the truth.

When we acknowledge that “believing is seeing” a whole new way to engage with the world opens up!

It is only when we SEE something in our minds eye, or imagination, that we can bring it into form! If you have ever watched your children play make-believe, this is in essence what they are doing: seeing something in their imaginations and bringing it into existence. Sometimes they use the help of props or costumes, but most often it is with nothing more than the conviction of their own imagination.

While it may be physically impossible for the pizza crust in my story to rock on “legs” and escape a restaurant for an epic adventure, the basic idea behind this story is that any type of creation begins with an idea. For this story, a pizza crust had the idea it could see a life for itself outside of being on a plate. No matter how ridiculous this seems, through the story there was a way to make it possible.

I would encourage you to engage with The Runaway Pizza on a day when you’re feeling a little flat about what to do, or when you’re in a bit of a rut. Sometimes that space is the perfect foundation, with no distraction, for the creation of something truly magical.

Here’s a few ideas on how to use make-believe for learning.

1. Make a theme day.

2. Discuss point of view and follow it through to include an exploration of the 6 senses.

3. Create a journal entry for a fictitious person, creature or thing.

4. Explore being a character from a social studies, geography or novel that you’re reading…and try to stay in that character for the ENTIRE day.

5. Plan ahead and make a special meal or snack from a different country and decorate your dining room (or patio, weather permitting!) to transport yourself there while you eat.

6. Pick a colour and have it be your theme for the day: use pencils and markers of that colour, only read books with that jacket colour, dress in the colour, and only eat food in that colour.

Do you have any other suggestions? If you do, please let me know in the comments below!


1. What motivated the half-eaten pizza crust to leave the restaurant?

2. Is there an experience in the story that you would like to personally experience? Which one would it be, and why?

3. Which experience did the Runaway Pizza enjoy the most?

4. Which experience did the Runaway Pizza NOT enjoy?

5. What “thing” could you imagine wanting to run away and experience something completely different?


READ ALOUD TIME: 10 minutes

FORMAT: read aloud

DESCRIPTION: A half-eaten crust of pizza makes a run for freedom and experiences the thrills and spills of the great big world outside the restaurant.

GENRE: Magic Realism

SUBJECT: Social studies

TOPIC: Make-believe

THEMES/KEYWORDS: freedom, exploration, adventure, imagination, curiosity, creativity, interaction, chain-reaction


PROTAGONIST 2: various creatures



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