Who does not love pizza?  I am sure that there is some crazy people out there who do not prefer gooey cheese and tomato sauce on bread (I assume this is due to food allergies?) but in a room full of toddlers you do not find those people.  When I revealed today's theme one child shouted 'I love pizza!' and many others followed suit adding in what kinds of toppings they enjoy.  I think that given the theme we could have done almost anything pizza related and they would have loved it.
The letter of the day was P which many of them got quickly (though we have a few over 3 year olds who know their letters).  And we had a few pictures of P words such as a Penny, Penguins, a Peacock, and a Pumpkin.

The first pizza book we read was Ding dong gorilla by Michelle Robinson.  This book is a little deceiving in that it doesn't look very pizza themed.  A little boy opens the door expecting to find the pizza man but instead discovers a gorilla!  The gorilla invites himself in and proceeds to wreck the house (of course it was the gorilla who dumped out all of the toys).  Throughout the story the little boy keeps explaining that there is bad news, but it is not that the gorilla broke things, made messes, scared away the real pizza boy, or disappeared.  Can you guess what the bad news is?  I was worried this might be a little long for the 2's and 3's, but they sat and listened really well.

After reading Ding dong gorilla we got up and moving with Angela Russ' Work your body.  This song is a toddler exercise song.  The kids stretch their arms, do some squats, and kick (very carefully!) their legs.  It is simple enough for the smaller ones and really helps get the wiggles out.

Our second book was Pete's a pizza by William Steig.  This is a classic pizza story.  When a little boy is grumpy that he can't go outside and play his dad decides to turn him into a pizza.  He kneads the dough, adds some ingredients, and pops him into the oven (or onto the couch).  This is a fun way to talk about how pizza is made, although in this story the pizza runs away and is a bit ticklish.

We followed Pete's a pizza with Carole Peterson's song Snowflake snowflake.  I like using scarves for this one.  We wave them in the air to the soothing music then when directed put them on our noses and toes.  The kids love when we make them into a ball and toss them up into the air and watch them float down (I do this when there is a long stretch of music with no instructions).

The flannel board this week was a song, so I put it before one last book.  I saw the idea here at Jen in the Library.  The song was simple, you take the Bingo song and replace it with pizza so you sing:
There is a treat that's fun to eat
And pizza is it's name-o
P-I-Z-Z-A, P-I-Z-Z-A, P-I-Z-Z-A,
And pizza is it's name-o.

Then, I pulled off a flannel pizza and we 'ate" it.  They all really loved this part as they got to pretend to eat the flannel pizza.  There we lots of giggles as they ran up and pretended to bite.  Then we replaced the letters we ate with claps in the song until we had eaten all the pizza.

I made the letters separate from the pizza so that I can pull them off and use just the pizza if need be.  The letters are printed out on cardstock and laminated and have a half velcro dot on the back.

The last book we read was everyone's favorite Hi, pizza man! by Virginia Walter.  A hungry little girl is getting impatient waiting for a pizza to arrive.  To pass the time her mother asks what she will say when the pizza man comes.  But, what if it is a pizza woman, or a pizza kitten?  What would she say to them?  Things get a bit crazy when they start to imagine pizza snakes and dinosaurs.  Finally, the doorbell rings, who will it be?  The kids really loved this one.

Our craft for the day was making a pizza out of a paper plate.  They were given some markers to color with, paint stampers for sauce, pom poms for meatballs, red stickers for pepperoni, and yellow paper they could cut or tear for cheese.  They also could have some model magic to use as dough and many of them enjoyed kneading and stretching it just like pizza dough.

For play time I made up a few play pizzas out of felt.  I cut some sauce and a few toppings that they could add and used yarn as cheese.  I saved a few pizza boxes and put those out for the kids to put their fake pizzas in.  (Since they were used I lined the bottom with cardstock to cover up the grease spots.  I had meant to see if the pizza shop would donate or sell a few and of course I forgot to do that.)

I also brought in this really cute Melissa and Doug pizza set that I have at home.  My own kids still really enjoy playing with it.  It is made of wood and the toppings stick on with velcro.
I managed to find a few pizza activity sheets to put out.  One lets the kids trace the word PIZZA and color a picture.  The other they can color and count the number of various toppings.  I put the sheets on the table so the kids can do them there, but many take them home which I think is great as they help them extend the books at home as well as work on math and literacy skills with their parents or caregiver.

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