Use pizza dough as a canvas to let kids create and cook edible art.
- Björn Jeffery, CEO & Co-Founder, Toca Boca
A few years ago I was babysitting a few of my favorite people in the world — three sisters living in Stockholm. They of course wanted to play most of the time, but as the responsible adult I felt that some sustenance was needed too. If nothing else to keep the energy up for the rest of the evening. But after talking to the sisters I realized the two — cooking and playing — needn’t be mutually exclusive. “I want to make pizza! A love pizza!” said Ida. So that’s what we did.
1. Decide on your dough
There are two ways of doing this — the easy way or the hard way. The hard way is to prepare the pizza dough in advance, make sure that is rises, and that it is ready to go when the kids enter the kitchen. The easy way is to stop by a pizzeria on the way and just buy some dough from them. It’s not on the menu, but most pizza places will help you out anyway. (And the really easy way is to buy the dough at a grocery store.) Having the dough in advance allows you to jumpstart the pizza-making process, so your young pizza artists can get to work right away.
2. Create your canvas
The idea is not simply to make pizzas, but to use them as creative canvases for the kids at the same time. There’s no reason that cooking can’t be fun! And there’s also no reason why pizza needs to be round for instance. We made the dough into large hearts, but also got some cookie cutters out and made pizza horses, pizza clouds and pizza stars. They will lose their shape in the oven a bit so prepare the kids for that so that they don’t get disappointed once they’re done.
There’s no reason that cooking can’t be fun!
3. Top it: Anything goes!
Once you have the dough in place, anything goes in terms of toppings. Who said that toppings need to be distributed evenly across a pizza? Instead, turn the dough into a canvas and let the kids decorate with things that they like. We’re not competing for a Michelin Star here — we are making edible (and tasty) art, so no judging! But also remind them that this is dinner, so they better be sure that they want to eat it afterwards.
4. Eat your art
When you’re done decorating, simply pop the pizzas in the oven and wait until the crusts get a golden color before you take them out. The satisfaction of both having participated in the making of the pizzas, along with the fun of seeing the finished pieces of pizza art is a great start to any playful evening!