If you are looking for a book with a very straight-forward activity and snack, this month’s book club meeting is for you! We read Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig. This is the story of a father who pretends to turn his son, Pete, into a pizza to cheer Pete up since it’s raining and he can’t go outside. The story is, in and of itself, an activity that can easily be followed along by readers. First, Pete’s father kneads and stretches the dough by rolling Pete and moving his legs and arms back and forth. He also applies sauce (which is really water, the book explains), flour (talcum powder), and cheese (pieces of paper), for example. We followed these steps (and the others) with our own kids exactly as they were described in the book as we read. The toddler’s seemed to really enjoy this book both when we read at home and at our book club, but the great thing about this book and activity is that it can easily be adapted to the baby members of the club. Rolling, stretching, letting them experience different textures on their skin, for example, are all good sensory experiences for babies. Books that can have benefit to multiple age levels right now are especially good for our group since we now have babies as young as newborn and older toddlers who are now already three! Keeping kids close in age when forming a group like ours is ideal, and was our initial situation, but the reality of adding siblings changed our dynamics, and that’s OK!
Developing a snack idea was also fairly obvious: pizza of course! We made little English muffin pizzas for simplicity. A couple of the parents in our group put the pizzas together and baked them in the oven, but you could also easily make this another activity and have the kids help put the pizzas together before baking. If you’ve never made these before, it’s a very easy 4-step process with few ingredients:
1) Cut English muffins in half and place on a cookie sheet.
2) Spread pizza sauce on each English muffin half.
3) Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on each English muffin half.
4) Bake in the oven until muffin is crispy and cheese is melted and slightly browned if you prefer. Watch carefully. Temperature and time will depend on individual oven. These cook well in a toaster oven too. Be sure to let cool slightly before serving.
Since the grown-ups made these, clean up was really fast too. If you have the little one’s involved, this could be a fairly messy project, but definitely one that would be worth the mess! My kid in particular loves to cook and there is so much learning that can occur while a child helps prepare food! We opted out for various reasons this time, but seriously, if your group situation allows: do it!
To see our meeting in action, check out the photo slide show below!