Cooking With Toddlers: Pizza Night!

by Melanie on June 27, 2013

20 Months Old

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I’ve found that the best way to keep my toddler from opening drawers in the kitchen and rearranging the Tupperware while I’m cooking is to involve him in what I’m doing!

Kids aren’t bad. They’re just bored. If we don’t engage them, they’ll find something that will. So many “behavioral problems” in children are simply due to a need to be engaged that isn’t being fulfilled. So to make my life easier and satisfy his desire to help, I find every opportunity I can to make him a part of all my household errands, including cooking.

This pizza night was especially distinctive because Dad got off work early enough to cook with us too!

So what can a 20 month old do to help make pizza?

I took some pictures to show you.

1. Knead the dough.

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Feels like Play-Doh, only way cooler!

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Kneading the dough with Dad.

2. Mix the sauce in a bowl.

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Holding on to the canned ingredients while I prepared the rest.

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Stirring it all together.

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Adding the spices.

3. Spread the sauce on the pizza (or at least watch while Dad does)!

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Taste test!

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4. Add the cheese.

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He makes an excellent taste tester!

5. Add the toppings- OH WAIT! Play with cars instead.

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When I reached into the refrigerator for the olives, I found two toy cars hanging out by the milk! This was Rocket’s candid expression when I asked him if he knew how the cars got in the refrigerator.

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Then he got distracted. He’d never played with cold cars before, after all!

6. Add the toppings- FOR REAL!

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As soon as he saw that we were back on the pizza, he abandoned the cars and hopped right on his stool again. By the way, this guy loves it every time he gets to stand on the stool to do big boy stuff. In addition to cooking, he uses the stool for washing his hands, brushing his teeth, washing vegetables, putting away silverware, wiping down table tops, sitting in his high chair, and other special tasks as we think of them. He knows that the stool is a big boy tool and that he has to always be on his best behavior while he’s on it or he will lose it!

7. Wash his hands. 

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When the pizza was ready to go in the oven, Rocket got all cleaned up.

8. Watch and sing the Silly Pizza Song while waiting for our pizza to cook!

9. Admire our work.

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10. Eat up!

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Mmm… family-made pizza. The best kind!

And there was an unexpected twist in the middle of this dinner.

Scott looked outside and noticed that the sky was overcast, so we decided to do something different and take our evening stroll as a family under the rain clouds. We packed up the rest of our pizza and ate it on our walk.

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What a beautiful end to pizza night!

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Swinging with pizza-full bellies.

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