These pizzas are about a spooky as we get in our house! I’m just not a huge fan of Halloween. I don’t love being scared or thinking about all of the things that come about with Halloween. I don’t like clowns, not knowing whose behind a mask, spiders, axes, ghosts, or things jumping out at me…
Aaaaand I’m literally writing this as my husband pretends to be a monster behind me! How did he know what I was writing?!
I can count the scary movies I’ve watched on my fingers, and their scariness has come back to haunt me well after I saw them! I know, I’m a wuss. I can handle it if I can make things cute, have fun, and connect with my kids. So, that’s what we make Halloween to be in our house. We have fun with cute crafts, cute food, cute costumes, and fun visiting neighbors trick or treating! This year it is looking like we will have a fairy, an airplane, and a panda bear.
When cooking and baking with young children it is so easy to get stuck in a rut of sweet treats, and lots of dumping, pouring, and stirring. Of course there’s not a problem with that! We do a ton of that here for sure, and I don’t think any of our kids are complaining. I like this cooking activity because it changes things up a little bit! You’ve got spreading the sauce on the english muffin, testing out the independence of choosing their own toppings, the fine motor action of tearing their string cheese, and then getting to watch the transformation as it bakes in the oven. Not to mention once you’ve got this done throw in a veggie and a fruit and you’ve got lunch ready to go!
We went super simple on our ingredients because I know that is what my kids will eat. So, pick toppings you know they will want to put on their pizzas. I think other variations of this I’ve maybe seen two slices of black olives as eyes peeking through the cheese “wrapping.” You decide how mummy-ish you want these to be, and if your kids would enjoy those.
I find it easiest to set out all of the toppings for them to see and choose from. They can start by spooning and spreading their sauce onto each half of their english muffin. Then, add toppings of their choice. Now comes the fun part. They need peel off strings of string cheese and lay them every which way across their english muffin. I split the string cheese in half first. It makes it a little easier for little fingers to get the strings started, and it makes them a little stringier for the mummy effect on the pizza. There’s no right way to do this! Now, bake the pizzas at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Turn the light on so your child can watch, and have a yummy lunch when they are all done!
This activity has a lot to offer a young child. For one, they are able to be in command for most of this activity. Being able to take charge of their food, plan what they want, and execute it themselves brings a great sense of pride. Not the, “pride cometh before fall” kind of pride, but the kind of pride in themselves that they learned they can do something on their own. They started with a blank slate and made their own creation. The “I did it!” feeling.
This activity has the other more obvious benefits of a cooking activity, and like I mentioned before brings some new functions to the table… no pun intended! Be sure to not forget the keys to doing activities with your child and making this a relational experience… Keep talking about what your child is doing, ask questions about what you see, describe the cooking process, and make this multi sensory by letting them taste, feel, and smell things as they go!