We love pizza around here- ok, really, who doesn’t like pizza? An activity we’ve been doing with the kids for a while now is making our own pizzas. It’s got a little bit of everything- a sensory experience with rolling out the dough, fine motor practice with spreading the sauce and sprinkling (or eating) the toppings, it’s also a lesson in patience (hurry up and finish cooking pizza because we want to gobble you up!) Allowing your children to help in the kitchen is an invaluable learning experience + think of all the messy memories you’ll make. It’s a challenge at times to not be a control freak when it comes to preparing food, knowing that it will take a bit longer & it will be a bit messier when the kids are helping. But I do it because the rewards are greater than the challenges.
My oldest (4.5 years) can do much of the process himself. I preheat the oven, and put the pizza in/take it out, but he does the rest independently- he even rinses the dishes himself! It wasn’t always this way, but we’ve been making pizzas since his first birthday party, and eventually your children will amaze you with their independence.
My youngest (1.5) needed help rolling out the dough, but he did well with the sauce-he was actually very meticulous because he doesn’t like to get his hands “dirty” (he won’t touch mud, but that’s a story for another day.) He liked eating the toppings more than putting them on the pizza.
I make sure to only give him supplies for one step at a time, otherwise it because a bit overwhelming. I show him the steps and then ask him if he’d like to try. he usually responds with, “no.” (but in his “yes” tone), so I leave him to it. It’s hard not to interrupt him if he’s struggling, but I feel it’s important to observe and let him try and self correct. I will always help if he asks for it. My experience with correcting has been a negative one. My children both will lost interest in what we are doing if I correct them during the activity. I find it better (but much more difficult) to take note, and to try and explain in a more concise way the next opportunity.
We are mostly plant-based here, so our toppings were vegan friendly, but this is a fun activity no matter what your diet- there are so many gluten free and even raw versions out there. We’ve even used portobello mushrooms as the “crusts.”
what are your favorite pizza toppings? Please share if you have any tips for having kids help in the kitchen.
From this day forward,