We’ve discussed the important role that creative learning plays in child development in previous articles, and although the methods vary greatly by communities and cultures, the impact is the same. All children need a variety of opportunities to express their feelings, thoughts and experiences through creative means–whether constructing a little house, gardening, cooking , painting or any of a million other possibilities.
“Playing with food” not only provides kids with such a creative experience, but it also creates a platform to get them excited about food. And if we can make the food healthy and nutritious too, the creative learning process becomes a great opportunity to promote healthy eating habits. The Kids and Homemade Pizza Workshop aimed to accomplish exactly that. Bonus: Parents got a new recipe idea and motivation to try their own mini-workshops with kids at home.
This recipe for an easy and nutritious whole-grain pizza is so basic, anybody can master it. If you’re really short on time, you don’t even have to wait for the dough to rise, just bake it right away. The worst that can happen is that the dough will form some air bubbles, but the taste won’t be compromised.
What made this workshop so successful and so much fun? We let kids create their own mini-pizzas from a choice of healthy toppings, bake their creations and–of course–eat them. We prepared a variety of fresh veggies and cheeses–some from the local farmer’s market,–organized a large community-style table that would fit about 20 children ages 3 to 12, gave each child a ball of pizza dough and let the fun begin.
And the outcome? We had to make more pizza dough to satisfy all the creative cooks in our little kitchen! What made the whole event even more fun was watching the youngsters help one another, passing ingredients across the table with a smile, enjoying each other’s company while they were learning. They all took it very seriously and were very proud of their creations.
While they waited for their pizzas to bake, the kids even made a “thank you” pizza for the farmers who supplied them with all the fresh and organic produce. Many parents approached me later to express surprise that their finicky eater didn’t leave a crumb; We’re already fielding questions about the next event!