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During the COVID-19 quarantine, kids with spring birthdays have been unable to celebrate their special day in-person with their friends and extended family. But staying home doesn’t mean you can’t throw your child an amazing birthday party -- you can do it virtually!
Here at The Cookie Cups, we love making birthdays special with instructor-led food activities for the guest of honor and their friends. One of our most popular themes is a Pizza Making Birthday Party, where each guest prepares, decorates, and bakes their own personal pizza.
We’re eagerly awaiting the day when we can host parties in our Navarre and Chanhassen bakeries again, but until then, we wanted to share some tips straight from our kitchen to help you host a virtual make-your-own pizza party for your child and a small group of friends.
1. Choose a date, time, and virtual meeting platform.
Set a date and time for your event and send a formal (digital) invitation to the parents of your child’s friends. A 90-minute to two-hour event should be plenty of time to prepare, cook, and eat the pizza, with a little time left at the end to sing happy birthday. Choose a free, user-friendly video conferencing tool like Google Hangouts or Zoom and send a link for guests to join at the specified date and time.
2. Gather ingredients and package them up for your guests.
If you were hosting a pizza making party in your home, you’d purchase and provide all the ingredients for your child’s guests to participate in the activity. A virtual party should be no different if your guests are local, so plan to pick up enough ingredients for your child’s friends. For each guest, we recommend purchasing the following:
- 6 to 8 oz. of pre-made pizza dough (to be rolled into a 6 to 8-inch round crust)
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup of store-bought marinara sauce
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- A small amount of additional toppings (pepperoni slices, chopped veggies, etc.)
You and your child can work together to portion out ingredients in plastic containers and zip-top baggies and drop them off at their friends’ doorsteps (all while wearing face coverings and gloves, of course!).
If your guests have dietary restrictions or live too far away (or if you don’t feel safe delivering the ingredients yourself), you may want to send guests a list of ingredients and offer to reimburse them via a digital payment platform.
3. Let your guests know what equipment and additional materials they’ll need.
Before your virtual party starts, email the guests’ parents and make sure they have a rolling pin, a sheet pan (greased or lined with parchment paper), and oven mitts handy to help their children with cooking the pizza. They will also need a clean work surface, such as a countertop, and flour to make sure the pizza dough doesn’t stick as they roll it out.
4. At party time, log on and guide your child’s guests through the pizza making process!
When it’s time to start the party, encourage everyone to turn their video camera on so you can watch and learn together (and see each other’s smiling faces). Make sure everyone preheats their oven at the start of the party, then walk them through the step-by-step process of rolling out their dough, adding sauce and toppings, and transferring their dough into the oven. For temperatures and cooking times, refer to your pre-made dough’s package instructions.
5. Sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and thank everyone for joining.
Once everyone has had their fill of pizza, it’s time to sing to the birthday boy or girl. Purchase or bake a small cake before the party and light a candle so everyone can sing during the video call. Just like a regular party, make sure your child sends thank you notes to their guests who were able to join.
A virtual celebration may not be exactly the same as a traditional birthday party surrounded by friends, but your child is sure to feel special and loved when you throw them a party like this!