When I sit down to make up our families menu for the week I always try to find a way for my kids to help me make the meal. There are many ways that you can be in the kids kitchen. It can be scary letting your kids help you cook and it can be time-consuming. Many times it makes a bigger mess and more often than not it takes twice as long to carry out the task. I am finding the more that I get my kids involved the better they are at eating the food that comes out of my kitchen. One of our families traditions is making pizza on Saturday night. Having your kids help you with the pizza making process is one of the most simple and easiest ways to get them into the kitchen.
Making pizza is one of the most simple cook projects that you can do with kids. There are minimal ingredients and they can customize their toppings and trying new things. For our pizza crust I used this simple recipe.
For this pizza being made in the kids kitchen I added 4 cloves of fresh garlic to the crust. The firefighter was my mixer for the crust. I used this as a math lesson and an introduction to reading lesson as well. He had the most fun measuring the flour. This helped with hand eye coordination as he learned how to level the flour in measuring cup and dumped it into the bowl.
I am finding that making any kind of dough ends up in some great sensory play. When you make dough you can’t help but get your hands in it. The pizza dough was sticky at first but once all the flour was mixed in, the firefighter found that the dough smoothed out.
One of the difficult things about working in the kids kitchen is the differing levels of skills and coordination. The firefighter is able to do many things while the princess struggles with steps. The trick is finding things they can do on their own or with a little help. This time it was daddy’s turn to help the princess with her job, which was shredding the cheese.
When it comes to toppings, use your imagination. If you have the time, take the kids to the grocery store and let them chose what they would like. Allowing them to have some say and experience with the different choices has the potential to help them try new foods and not be as picky. My kids chose red peppers, onion and mushrooms for this pizza.
Mushrooms are the perfect vegetable to get practice with knife skills. The firefighter loves to use a butter knife to cut the mushrooms. He likes to mimic how I cut veggies with a sharp knife.
For the homemade pizza sauce I try to keep it simple.
I feel that the more simple the recipe the more the real ingredients shine through.
Part of cooking in the kids’ kitchen is that nothing will be perfect. In all honesty, when it comes to food, I think perfection is overrated. The learning and fun you have is enough in its self to compensate for the mess and uneven cuts. The kids had fun putting the toppings on the pizza. There where bits of nothing but onion but the satisfaction on their faces at their accomplishments erased any of the memories.
After the pizza was baked it was time to eat it! By the sounds of silence and the fact that the firefighter ate 5 pieces and the princess at 3 I would say that our pizza making in the kids’ kitchen was a success!