Hooray for Books and Pizza!
This morning I attended what was arguably one of the most enriching and engaging activities I have witnessed my children attend thus far. Hooray for Books, based out of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, taught a free “Pizza Pie Demo” class hosted at Barefoot Books’ colorful flagship store in Concord. Hooray for Books teaches “creative classes where kids look, cook & devour good books.”
Hooray for Books’ Pizza Pie Demo was all that and more. The class was taught by Maureen, who clearly enjoys working with children. She had an easy-going rapport with the kids, knowing how to be silly and also how to keep the group engaged, attentive as well as entertained. The kids, ranging in age from 2-5 years, were captivated when she spoke, yet she also let them express their creativity and individuality.
Maureen started with a craft activity that required the children to make their own chef hats. There were plenty of colorful markers and vegetable stickers on a large table for the kids to use to decorate their large white pizza chef hats, each labeled with the child’s name. When asked by the teacher what her name was, my 2 1/2- year old daughter introduced herself as “Princess”. Lovely, I thought to myself. How’s that going to go over, particularly once my daughter starts climbing on the table and begins slinging pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella at her big brother – all in her unprincess-like ways?
Fortunately, that never happened. The kids were too busy! Once the children finished decorating their chef hats, Maureen fitted each one to their heads, then sat them down for the educational portion of the class. This was my 4 1/2- year old son’s favorite part – he called it “silly time”.
For “silly time”, Maureen had a tote bag full of surprises. She would pull out a random item and ask if it would be helpful for making pizza. For example, she pulled out a hilarious chicken hat and placed it on her head, which made the kids laugh. She followed that by donning a pizza hat which she wore for the duration of the cooking exercise. What I liked about these surprises was the dialogue the kids shared about what was right and wrong when using some of the tools from Maureen’s bag for making pizza. For example, she pulled out a toy power saw and asked the children “Would this be helpful when making your pizza?” Then she pulled out a pizza cutter instead. Or she would pull out a rolling pin, ask the children what it was, then say, “I use this for curling my hair, right?” The kids would laugh and yell, “Nooo!!!”
One she was finished rummaging through her bag of surprises, she had the children wash their hands before they worked with the food – another valuable lesson learned during this class. Then it was time to make the pizza. Maureen took Pillsbury biscuit dough and gave each child a piece of dough, along with a plate and their own colorful little rolling pin so they could roll out the dough. She passed around bowls of sauce, shredded mozzarella, and pepperoni for the toppings. My daughter essentially made a heap of cheese with a side of dough – and boy was it fun to watch. [See the recipe at the end of this post.]
Once the kids were finished making their pizzas, Maureen passed out these adorable little pizza boxes for the children to take home their pizzas – just like real takeout! They were so excited to get home and bake their pizza lunch, but the morning wasn’t over yet! Now it was story time. The kids followed Maureen to the enchanting Story Teller’s Throne at Barefoot Books to listen to some great stories about making pizza.
As I said, this arguably was one of the most engaging and entertaining learning activities for kids I have seen. Hooray for Books finds a way to educate young children that’s a lot like making pizza: they roll out a creative canvas, spread some education and humor around, then top it all off with hands-on learning, books and a whole lot of extra fun!
Want to know what’s coming up next at Barefoot Books? Keyword search “Barefoot” on Ziptivity.com to find a whole host of wonderful classes and events. Coming up this month, Barefoot Books has a fantastic array of classes all taught by experienced teachers:
Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Crafts
Feb 16 & 23 – Kids’ Yoga
Feb 19 – Kids’ Movement
Feb 21 thru 25 – Vacation Week Adventures
Feb 22 – Rhythm Kids’ Drumming Adventure
(recipe courtesy of Hooray for Books)
Ingredients: (makes about 20 pizzas)
2 tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (go easy when you open them)
1 8oz. can zesty tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano, not zucchini
1 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
pepperoni + other toppings – don’t go zany (optional)
1 – Open the can of biscuits with a POP!
2 – Drop the biscuits lightly in flour and roll the biscuits into 2 1/2″ circles. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
3 – In a bowl, combine the zesty tomato sauce, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Spread over the biscuits with a spoon leaving an edge.
4 – Sprinkle with cheese and optional toppings.
5 – Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.