Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pete's A Pizza: Little Hands at Work

Have you ever pretended to eat, nibble at, or gobble up your child? I’m sure you have, if you haven’t actually bitten them yet! Children are just so sweet and delicious, yum!

But how about pretending to cook or bake your child? Now that’s a novel idea from author William Steig in Pete’s a Pizza. We discovered it in a treasury of classic picture books bought as-good-as-new from Booksale for Php350. (Price in Amazon? USD23)

BAKING YOUR CHILD Pete is in a bad mood because it’s raining and he can’t go out to play with his friends. His parents pretend that he’s a pizza to cheer him up. His father kneads, stretches, and flips him like pizza dough, and adds oil (water), flour (talcum powder), cheese (pieces of paper, and tomatoes (checkers). He then bakes him in the oven (the couch) and tries to slice him but Pete gets tickled and runs away. The rain finally stops and he goes out to play. What a wonderful springboard for parents and children to play pretend! My arms hurt from stretching and throwing Little T up into the air as she repeatedly asked to be made into a pizza.

PLAY DOUGH Though I wanted to let Little T experience making pizza from scratch, I didn’t have the required yeast… and truth to tell, I’m not much for cooking anything! I settled for the next best thing to practice our kneading, stretching, flipping, pounding, and slicing homemade play dough. Little T’s little hands got busy for several mornings, making not just pizzas but also cakes and breads and “baking” her creations in the unplugged oven toaster. 

I love making our own play dough. I’ve been making it since Little T was around a year old. It’s much softer than what's available in the stores and so easy to make for something that I’m sure is safe for my child. When it gets tough or really dirty after several uses, I just whip up another batch. Here's the recipe that I use:

  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 cup water 
  • ½ cup salt 
  • 2 tbsp oil 
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar 
  • food color 
Combine all ingredients except for the food color. Mix on low to medium heat until sticky. Turn off heat. Knead the dough when you can handle it already, and add food color, liquid or powder. Voila!

PIZZA Children love to help around the house. They observe what big people do and are often excited to try things out for themselves. For Pete’s A Pizza, Little T made a pizza with her friend J who lives across the street. I just put what they needed on the table and let them spread the tomato sauce, sprinkle parmesan cheese, and put pepperoni on the pizza crust that I bought earlier. They had it for snacks and were proud of what they made with their own hands. As a treat for the family, Little T again made a pizza for dinner that night.

Our Learning Basket for the week only had the Treasury of Picture Books,another book about a pizza party, and our play dough. Most of our work was in the kitchen playing and making our pizza, and in the bedroom kneading, flipping, and baking the delicious and wriggly Little T Pizza.

You can easily incorporate these fun activities in your week. Pretend play before bed time, play dough during play time, and real pizzas for some kitchen work. It’s a nice way to have a great meal and to finally take a bite off from your Child Pizza, if you haven’t yet.

What other food do you pretend your child to be?

 I would love to know!

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