Last fall, the song was stuck in kids’ heads. The “ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!” of “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” could be heard in lunchrooms, on school buses and wherever YouTube was being played. And everyone seemed to know the dance moves from the music video.
In 2014, the frenzy had died down. Kids were buzzing about the movie “Frozen,” the Winter Olympics and selfies at the Oscars. And when it came time for The Washington Post’s annual Peeps Diorama Contest, that buzz inspired many kids to craft elaborate scenes with snowboarding marshmallow figures. But a sly “Fox”-based diorama ended up winning over the judges to place first among more than 150 kids’ entries.
Caroline Roberts-Gaal, 12, who created “What Does the Peep Say?” with friends from her Bethesda neighborhood, said she thought the Winter Olympics would be a very popular theme.
“We decided we would do something older,” she said.
The song and video by the Norwegian duo Ylvis came to mind, Caroline said.
The singers go through a list of animal sounds — “cow goes moo / frog goes croak” — until they ask “What does the fox say?” and present a lot of silly possibilities.
These kids came up with an answer to the more important question: “What does the Peep say?” (“Peep!” of course.)
But it wasn’t just the idea that got the judges’ notice, it was the details. The Peeps that portrayed the animals in the song were dressed in felt or feathers. Zoe White, 11, Lauren Gates, 13, and Caroline divided up costuming duties.
Zack and Zeke White, and Hugo Byrne, all 9, helped create tiny food for the picnic table and gathered gravel, moss and sticks for the scenery. The background, with modern houses similar to one in the music video, was made from photos of neighborhood homes.
“The balcony was the hardest part,” Lauren said of the popsicle-stick replica of the one from the video’s first scene.
The kids spent about 10 to 12 hours over a weekend and a snow day creating the scene, according to mom Courtney Roberts, who coordinated the effort and housed the diorama in her kitchen.
The finished work featured 18 Peeps, but the kids estimated that they had more than twice that number when they started. Some said the sticky sweets weren’t that tempting.
“I actually don’t like them too much,” Lauren said. She admitted sampling a few during the creative process, however.
“I haven’t tried them,” Hugo said, insisting that he wasn’t aiming to fool a reporter.
The kids said they didn’t believe it at first when they found out the contest results. Then the excitement hit.
“When I heard we won, I started dancing,” Zack said.
It’s not hard to guess what the dance was.