Tinker Thinkers is an after school STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) program aimed at ages 4 and up. So far we have done lots of activities with science, engineering, arts, and even technology, but I wanted a fun way to incorporate math. Then it occurred to me: playdoh pizzeria! Pizza is a perfect opportunity to talk about fractions, and if we opened a play restaurant we could introduce money concepts. Plus, playdoh rocks.
I have two Tinker Thinkers groups, so I ended up making about four batches of this homemade playdoh. I divided each batch into 4-6 (started with 4 and realized I could eke out 6) balls and put each one into a ziploc sandwich bag. This was the base of the pizza. The rest was store bought playdoh that I brought from home. I also borrowed my daughter’s playdoh toys (cutters, etc). Caution: the playdoh definitely gets all mixed together, so be prepared for that. If you wanted to avoid using store bought playdoh, you could make more homemade and add food coloring, or just use non-playdoh toppings as seen here. (This link is also where I got the order sheet we used).
Speaking of Play-Doh, check out this cool free printable! I printed a few off, glued the front and back together and laminated them. The kids really enjoyed looking at the menu and replicating the items.
To encourage math skills, I posted a menu with suggested prices, plus an information sheet about fractions. We mostly just talked about it, though. I’d say something like, “If I wanted a cheese pizza and a drink, how much would I need to pay you?” or “I need a pizza to share with 3 of my friends–how many pieces do we need to cut?”
We also had a cash register filled with this printable money. It was really fun to see the kids go through the process of taking the order, making the pizza, and accepting payment. We had a great time!