By Fran Wisniewski
Does your little one love pizza enough to ask for it everyday, sometimes at every meal? If you're a parent that gives in to the constant pizza request, you are not alone. But don't fear -- the latest Harvard study says, "Pizza is good for you!" That's right, the tomatoes on the pizza help fight cancer and may cut down on heart disease. If you would like to read more visit: Harvard Study on Pizza
Celebrate the fact that pizza is good for you with a Pizza Party! Before we get started, why not learn about pizza through the ages?
Adding toppings to baked flat bread can be traced as far back as the 6th century BC. In the early 1500's, the peasants of Naples began adding tomatoes to their yeast dough. That, along with olive oil, cheese and herbs made the meal. By the 17th century, pizza had gained popularity among visitors to Naples. Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba in Naples is believed to be the very first pizza tavern. Different sources say it opened anywhere between 1738 and 1830 - and it is still open today! In 1905, Gennaro Lombardi opened up a pizzeria in New York City. Lombardi's is believed to be the first pizzeria in North America and is still considered one of the best pizzerias in the US today.
If you would like to learn more about the history of pizza please visit:
Okay, let's get this party started!
Here are some ideas to help you get started with the arrangements for your pizza party. You'll find recipe and game ideas to keep everyone moving, eating and having fun.
Make Pizza Party Invitations!
First, you'll need to decide when the party will be so grab a calendar and pick a date. Next, get a pencil and paper and show your child how to make a guest list. Once you're finished with that, start making invitations! This is a great way to get your child's linguistic and artistic juices flowing!
Here is what you'll need:
- Construction paper or cardstock
- Crayons or paint (optional)
- Clip art, magazines or store flyers (optional)
- Pencil or Pen
Directions: Cut construction paper into circles or "pizza slices" (triangles or squares) and let your child decorate one side with "pizza toppings." You can have your child use cut out pictures from magazines, store flyers or clip art and glue them on the front or have them draw or paint the toppings themselves. On the other side, write the date, time and place of your party and RSVP info. Let your child put the stamps on the envelopes or hand deliver the invitations.
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Go Pizza Shopping!
Once you know who's coming, have your child help make a shopping list for the party. Help your child cut out pictures of the items you'll need for the party and glue them to a piece of paper. When the list is done, have them carry it and help you find what you are looking for in the store. Be sure to bring a crayon or pencil along to cross out what you've already found and have them tell you what you still need. This activity will help give your little one a sense of responsibility and their level of pride will be off the charts!
Extra learning activity: Help boost your child's math skills by putting the amount of each item needed on the list. For example, place 2 pictures of onions if you need 2 onions. You can also write the words under each picture to help with word recognition skills.
Note: You can do this for your everyday shopping lists too.
Make Pita Pizzas!
Making pita pizza's are so quick and easy even a toddler can help! Here is what you need:
- 1 Pita for each person
- Pizza sauce
- Shredded cheese
- Vegetables (mushrooms, onion, peppers, broccoli, spinach etc...)
Directions: Make a pita pizza for each of your guests by spreading a light layer of sauce over the top with a spoon. (Younger children can do this if you show them how and help them once or twice.) Next, let your child add cheese and vegetables and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the pita is brown and crispy (about 5-6 minutes; longer if needed).
While you are waiting for your pizza to cook, read the story, "The Little Red Hen Makes Pizza" by Philemon Sturges. The Little Red Hen is whipping things up in her kitchen and this time pizza is on the menu! Who will help her make the pizza? Who will help her cook the pizza? Who will help her eat the pizza? Why not read and find out!
I can't believe I ate the whole thing!
Once the pizza is done and cooled a bit, its time for some math fun! Talking about fractions in a fun and yummy way will help your child to get a better understanding of how math works. Just show and tell them what each new cut creates. Cut the pizza in half, show your child that you now have 2 pieces -- or 2 halves. Cut each half in half again, and now you have 4 pieces! Each of the 4 pieces is called a quarter. Continue with this until you have the desired amount of pieces... then it is time to eat!
Note: You can also explain how fractions work with fruit slices, cheese cubes, sandwiches and anything else you can cut up.
After eating all that yummy pizza, why not play a game that will help get everyone moving!
Make a Pizza Game Board
Making this game board beforehand will save time and when the guests arrive the fun can begin right away. Exact dimensions are not given because you can make the pizza board any size you need to. Once you gather all needed items, this goes together rather quickly.
- 3 Round or square objects in descending sizes (Lids from containers or the containers themselves are good for this project. For a larger game board, use a round or square cooking pan)
- Brown construction paper, poster board, or painted cardboard (crust)
- Red construction paper, poster board, or painted cardboard (sauce)
- White construction paper, poster board, or painted cardboard (cheese)
- Scissors (or cutting tool for cardboard)
- Glue, double stick tape or hot glue (for cardboard)
Image Compliments of The Public television program
Hands On Crafts for kids
Directions: Take the largest shape and trace the outside with a pencil on the brown paper/cardboard. This will make the "crust" for your pizza and the bottom layer. Next, take your red paper/cardboard and trace around the next descending shape. This is the "sauce" layer. Then, take the white paper/cardboard and trace around the last shape. This is the "cheese" layer. Have your child help trace while you hold the shape in place. Have an adult cut out the "pizza" layers.
Putting the pizza together: Using glue, double sided tape or hot glue, center the red (sauce) shape on the brown (crust) and adhere them together. Then center the white (cheese) on top of the red (sauce) and adhere that together.
You'll want to be able to see some of the "crust" and "sauce" peeking out so leave some space between the layers. If you are using regular glue, please allow time for that to dry. If you are using double stick tape or hot glue, your "pizza" is ready to go! Tape it or pin it to the wall at your child's level.
Note: Hot glue works best if you are using cardboard. Please use caution when using hot glue!
Making the Topping (playing pieces)
- Removable glue
- Waxed paper
- Magazines, store flyers, veggie clip art or graphics
While an adult cuts around the pizza shapes, have your child cut out pictures from magazines of yummy toppings to put on the pizza board. Once you've decided what your toppings will be, put some removable glue on the back of each picture and put them on the waxed paper. Don't have removable glue? Tape will do just fine.
Time to play: "Top The Pizza"
What you'll need:
- Pizza game board
- Tape (if not using removable glue)
- Something to cover the eyes (scarf, winter hat, etc.)
How to play: This game is played like "Pin The Tail On the Donkey." The only rule is that the topping must make it on the pizza! (The wall doesn't count!)
Have the player choose a "topping" to put on the pizza and then cover the player's eyes so that they can't see. Have another player turn them around 3 times and point them in the right direction. Once they put one topping on, it is time for the next player to go. If there are toppings left over, allow each person to take a turn until they are finished.
*The pieces can be used over and over when you use removable glue, if you put them back on the waxed paper.
This is a fun family game and adults can have as much fun playing this as the little ones!
Using the freshest ingredients available is always a great idea when cooking. Using your own homegrown ingredients is even better! Imagine the excitement your child will have using things that they helped to grow!
What to grow:
You can start with seeds (f you can't find the seeds you want at your local garden store, check out Burpee Seeds) or buy plants from the store to get a jump-start on things. You can also buy these ingredients fresh at the grocery store and make your own sauce together.
To learn more about how a pizza grows visit: Kids Farm. This site gives explanations for all parts of the pizza from crust to box!
If you would like to make your own pizza from scratch try these great recipe sites:
- Q. So how many delicious ways can pizza be enjoyed?
A. There are endless ways for you and your family to enjoy pizza: breakfast pizza, traditional pizza, desert pizza and peanut butter and jelly pizza just to name a few! Even if someone in the family has milk allergies there are many cheese alternatives to try such as soy and rice based cheeses. You may also want to try goat and sheep's milk cheeses!
This is a fun site that will give you some choices and recipes for making your own pizza. Click on each layer to get a recipe: Recipe Pizza
*Be aware of peanut allergies before trying this.
More information about pizza:
- The History of Pizza Pie
- The History of Pizza
- History & Legends of Pizza
- The Pizza Timeline
- Teaching Health at Home
- Pizza Game
Pizza in the News:
Fran Wisniewski is UniversalPreschool.com's Worldwide Ambassador. She keeps our site updated with information on preschool policies worldwide. To learn more visit: Universal Preschool Around The World. Fran is also the founder of Fran's World of Discovery.