Making pizza.

Mini pizzas can be quite the lesson for a preschooler: math, cooking, and biology all mixed into one lesson. In addition, it is a fun lesson and he hardly realized how much he learned. Mini pizzas, as I approached them, because a project lesson – a holistic lesson that didn’t focus on a specific subject but instead brought all the subjects together in one lesson. It also let him practice various motor skills that he is going to need to develop to be a better writer.

All our ingredients for mini pizzas: cheese, sauce, pepperoni, and bagels/hamburger buns.

All good lessons start with good preparation. In this case, it was me splitting the bagels in half (or buns, since we ran out of bagels) with a knife. I don’t like to let him use a knife, so I do the knife work beforehand. I also put the spices into the tomato sauce so it would be ready to do. I got out the cheese and pepperoni, and a spoon to put the sauce onto the “crusts.”

Nicholas did all the work.

The math part of the lesson: Dividing the pepperoni equally (or unequally) and counting them as he put them onto the crusts. He also had to count out enough slices of cheese to make for the pizzas.

The cooking part: Making the pizzas counts as cooking. He can – accurately – tell you that his mini pizzas are made with a crust, then sauce, then pepperoni, then cheese. As a person who has married a man who doesn’t really cook, and who knows many young men who cannot cook, I realize that teaching him how to cook is important. In fact, it is vital. What happens when he is older and I don’t want to cook every day for him? He is learning now how food is made, and that is important.

The finished product: Math, cooking, and biology lessons all in one. Thank goodness he's still too young to recognize all that he's really learning from making mini pizzas.

The next question might be, “How in the world do mini pizzas count as biology?” Well it is simple.

Biology lesson: We eat plants and meat (pepperoni and tomatoes) so we are omnivores. We are not herbevores (not in this house) and we are not carnivores (although we do love some meat). So we talked about the difference between plants and meats. Then we talked about the food chain and we played the food chain game. I got to pretend I was a plant, and he got to come pretend to eat me (he picked being a cow), then I got to pretend to eat him as a hamburger since I was a person. I thought that would end the game, but my very creative son decided he was going to be a T-Rex and eat me – since a T-Rex will eat a person. I declared an end to the food chain and he told me I was wrong, “Mommy, a T-Rex dies and is eaten by God so it can go to heaven.” I decided not to correct him and took the sentiment as correct.

In addition, we named off the food groups we had. We have a picture on our refrigerator of the four main food groups: meat, bread, dairy, and fruits/veggies. I really wanted to add chocolate, but my husband reminded me the picture was for our son, not me. So at every meal he has to have all four food groups and name what he is eating out of each one. So he named them correctly: Tomato (fruits/veggies), crust (bread), cheese (diary), and pepperoni (meat).

That is how our task of mini pizzas ended up taking 1.5 hours to make and cook and eat! It was a fun lunch and we both really enjoyed it. He learned so much and still doesn’t realize how much he is learning.

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