Looking for a fun, family activity that even teenagers will enjoy? Take to the kitchen and challenge your crew to a friendly pizza competition.
Family is the most important thing in the world to me. Since the day my kids were born, I’ve strived to create a positive home environment filled with love and memorable experiences. More than anything, I want my kids to look back on their life and remember a fantastic childhood.
Fun Family Memories
Organizing and going on family vacations and getaways is one of my favorite ways to create memories. I have a personal love of travel and adventure, and I really want to pass that on to my kids. Our vacations are always fun, and we have a good time reminiscing about them and sharing stories from those experiences.
Our trips, though, are not what I want the kids to remember the most about their childhood. I want them to remember being loved, respected and feeling like a valuable part of the family. I want them to remember having a mom that was present. A mom that listened, and encouraged them to express their own opinions and thoughts, as individuals.
I also want them to remember participating in fun activities. Not only the ones they chose – like their sport or extracurricular activities – but also the ones they were asked to participate in – like family hikes, picnics and board games. The activities that they don’t always volunteer to do with open arms, but that I know they will look back on with fond memories. Most importantly, I want them to remember having a mom that prioritized family time.
Family time, especially around family meals, has benefits that extend past memories, though. Eating with others, especially family, is associated with a greater consumption of healthy foods. I share more about those benefits in my post, Move Family Mealtime To First Place.
Fun With Kids In The Kitchen
Family time and food have always gone hand-in-hand. Feeding my kids healthy food is one way I show them I care, and teach them to prioritize their health. Getting kids in the kitchen from a young age is key to fostering a love for food.
That’s because kids, and adults, tend to migrate to what is familiar. If you grow up seeing and tasting different foods, you are much more likely to eat it as an adult. When my kids were little, I wrote and talked a ton about the importance of teaching kids about healthy food. Taking kids to a farm and the grocery store helps them to see and learn where food comes from. Having kids help with the cooking allows them to see and feel different the types of foods, and get familiar and comfortable with the variety of colors and textures. It’s important to let kids make a mess and have fun with food. It’s all part of the learning process.
My kids are teenagers now, so our time in the kitchen is a bit different. I’m proud to say that they can cook their own food, though my son still prefers to have someone else make it for him. My daughter Mia, on the other hand, has really taken to cooking. She even makes me breakfast, on occasion. Now we’re working on the next step of cooking – cleaning-up after ourselves. It’s taking a bit longer than I’d like, but we’re getting there.
How Food Competitions Can Increase Food Variety
If you’re a parent that struggles to get your kids to eat what you cook, you’re not alone. Many, many parents struggle with this. One way to encourage kids to try new foods is to make a game out of it. When my kids were younger, I set up food competitions a lot. The kids thought it was fun, and I found it to be a simple way to get them to try new foods.
The rules were simple. I made something new, and my kids would had to rate my cooking on a scale from 1-10. It worked like a charm – every time! It didn’t matter what food it was, if wee able to judge it, they tried it. It was a win-win.
Food and fun is a natural fit.
How To Have A Family Pizza Competition
This past Sunday, the family was back in the kitchen for more fun with food. This time, it was for a family pizza competition. This one was a bit more involved than the one I explained above, and it was a lot more fun, too. We each had to prepare our own pizza, explain our creation, then share a piece with each other. Each pizza would be judged based on presentation, creativity and taste.
We each wrote down the toppings we wanted, compared it to what we already had in the refrigerator, then Brian went to the grocery store and bought everything else that was needed.
Our cooking space was the kitchen island. We each had our own cutting board, knife, and an 8” Boboli pizza crust. All ingredients were set out for anyone to use. Here’s a list of what we had to use:
Pizza Toppings We Used For Making Homemade Pizza’s
- Pizza Sauce
- Olive oil
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Ricotta Cheese
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Italian sausage (we pre-cooked this)
- Roasted Red Peppers (Brian pureed these for his pizza)
- Fresh basil
Once everything was set-up, we all got to work.
The rules of the competition were pretty simple. We each made our own pizza, then judged each other’s based on taste, creativity and presentation. The score was based on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest score, and 1 being the lowest. Each category was worth 5 points per judge, so the best possible score for any one pizza was 45.
Knowing the food likes and dislikes of the judges helped me determine what toppings I would choose. I love packing lots of vegetables on my pizza, especially spinach, onions and peppers. But, I wanted to win, so I decided stick to ingredients that I thought the judges would like. I brushed the bottom of my crust with olive oil, then topped half of the pizza with olive oil, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and the other half with red sauce and mozzarella. I put tomatoes and fresh basil on the entire thing.
Brian topped his pizza with ricotta cheese, pureed roasted red peppers and Italian sausage, while Luke stuck to a traditional meat lovers topped with sausage and pepperoni. Mia used red sauce, mozzarella, basil and then got really creative by using a cookie-cutter to make heart-shaped pepperoni.
The Winning Pizza
All pizzas were delicious. Brian’s combination of Italian sausage, red peppers and ricotta scored a 5 out of 5 from me, but the kids didn’t appreciate the spicy flavor as much as I did. He didn’t get many points for presentation from them, either. He decided the next time he would mix the red pepper puree into the sauce rather than just plopping it on the top. He ended with a score of 27 out of 45.
Luke’s meat lovers was delicious, but he scored low on creativity. He also didn’t get many points for presentation. His total score was 26 out of 45.
My pizza had the highest score for presentation, but one particular child didn’t find it very tasty, giving me a 2 out of 5 for taste. I ended with a score of 33 out of 45. Not bad, considering two out of three judges don’t like fresh tomatoes on their pizza.
The winning pizza was made by Mia. She scored a 13 out of 15 on taste, and her heart-shaped pepperoni scored her points for both creativity and presentation. She ended with a score of 34 out of 45.
I’m sharing a picture of our score sheet below. Mia was sure to point out who the winner was, as well as all of the losers.
When the judging was over, we loaded our plates with our favorite pizza and had a family dinner. We heated up a meal for Matt so that he could join us, too. We each tried something new, but more importantly, we had fun night.
Our next food competition is in two weeks. We’ll be competing to see who can make the best ice cream sundae.