Making Pizza with Kids

About once or twice a month, we have pizza night at our house. The great thing about pizza night is that everyone gets to make their own pizza, and within reason, choose their own toppings. My daughters love making their pizzas and view the assembly more like making crafts than preparing food. There’s just something about handling dough that appeals to kids of all ages.

Pizza night is only as hard as you make it. You can prepare your own dough from scratch, which we’ve occasionally done, or you can just purchase pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s or a bakery and start from there. If you make the dough yourself, be sure to let your kids help you mix the yeast with the water as it fizzes nicely and provides a great opportunity for you to share a little science lesson about leavening. Oh, just look at that yeast rise!

When we have pizza night, I make a simple marinara sauce and then set out a range of different toppings, which might include fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, black olives, prosciutto, sausage and mushrooms. Whatever I have on hand (again… within reason. As an Italian mother, chicken is just not allowed) is an option. We all then have a great time stretching the dough, patching holes, and making our own personal pizzas just the shape we want. When it’s winter, snowmen pizzas might get made. At Halloween, a pumpkin shape might appear. Anything is fine. After that, we lay on the sauce (or none, if that’s your preference) and toppings.

Pizza night is a great way to get your children engaged wit their food. Some of my favorite moments cooking are sitting around our kitchen counter and chatting with my daughters while they spread olives all over their pizza. So if you’re up for a family cooking night, I highly recommend making pizzas with your kids.

Some simple pizza-making tips

1. Heat your oven to 500 degrees. This will allow the dough to crisp nicely, but you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

2. You can cook your pizzas on baking sheets or a pizza stone. Anything is fine.

3. It’s nice to set up the toppings in small bowls and set them up assembly-line style.

4. If you’re interested in making your own dough, here’s a simple recipe.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    bill said,

    I should start making home made pizza – I ussually buy pizza every wednesday and friday night. It has to be cheaper to make your own than to buy it – one large extra cheese pie cost me $12.71 w/ tax. How much does it cost to make it at home???


  2. 2

    dslincoln said,

    Hi Bill — Sorry for the late response. For some reason your comment didn’t get emailed to me. The dough costs about $1 to make about about $2 to buy. A tomato sauce topping is probably about another $1 or $1.50, plus about another $4 for the cheeses. Overall it’s probably about $7 – $8 to make a nice homemade pizza, so you save a little money. The best part, however, is all the fun you’ll have making them with your family.

  3. 3

    alexandra said,

    Hi, I am going in to my son’s classroom to make pizza with the children from start to finish. With this recipe, how many small pizzas do you think it will make? There are 17 children plus 3 teachers. I was thinking about making the dough one morning and then the next morning assembling them and then cooking them so that they could have them for lunch. Any suggestions?

  4. 4

    dslincoln said,

    Hi Alexandra — I would think each ball of pizza dough (which is enough for one large pizza) would make between 4-6 small pizzas (depending on the size you make them). Some pizza dough recipes make more than one ball of dough, however, so if you’re making it from scratch, check the recipe. The NY Times has a great no knead pizza recipe — This makes 4 balls of dough, so depending on the age of the kids it may make enough (i.e., if they’re in preschool or kindergarten you can get away with making smaller pizzas). Good luck.

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