Every Saturday afternoon our branch has a “Saturday Surprise” program. The responsibility for the idea and execution rotates between all the children’s staff. A few Saturday’s back I had one called a “Pizza Taste Off!” The program idea is very simple, and how the program goes depends on your resources, time and how you advertise it. Basically you have kids each a bunch of pizza and vote on which one is best. It is a blind taste test. The kids voted on categories such as Most Cheesiest (ha! right?), Best Sauce, Best Crust, and Best Overall Slice. You can tie this into themes such as recipes, food, Italy, voting, or in this case – descriptive writing.
First, I booked our multipurpose room. Then, I called every pizza place within a ten minutes driving distance of my branch. I explained the program and asked them for a donation of two large cheese pizzas each for the day of the program. I got in touch with local grocery stores and got about 150 cans of soda donated, as well as 40 Capri Sun drinks. Then I made flyers with all the pertinent information – time, place, etc. Somewhere on there was also “EAT FREE PIZZA – donated by over 5 local pizzerias” and “wash it all down with FREE SODA.” I’d like to think that had something to do with attendance.
Rather serendipitously, the teen department had on ongoing pop art program and they let me borrow this giant slice for the day.
The room was set up with tables and chairs, and on each table was a plate for every child and 6 other plates in the middle. These plates were numbered 1-6 and would have on them the corresponding pizza type. Each place setting had plenty of napkins, a golf pencil, and a form with blanks to fill in on pieces 1-6.
That day I drove to 6 pizzerias, filling my car with 12 large pizzas and leaving my “Ah – I wish I ate my breakfast” stomach in severe pain as I drove all over downtown smelling only pizzas. I got back to the branch to see a HUGE LINE of parents and hungry kids. Luckily, everything was ready except that these pizzas had to cut into much smaller pieces. Even with my coworkers helping me, that took a while. As did pouring the drinks – we used cups with ice, as handing out full cans of soda could be a waste and anger some parents.
After all 120 people got a drink and sat down, we talked about descriptive words for pizza.
Then I had them all try a piece off the pizza number 1 plate. Afterwords, we all wrote down a description for it. This continued until all the pizzas plates were empty. I handed out the voting form. We went over our notes and voted on which was the best in each category. I took as show of hands for each category and number of pizza. We announced winners and everyone had a great time. I had certifcates made for the winning pizzerias, and mounted themm on posterboards. As the kids left they signed and wrote on the boards. The next day I gave the awards to the winning pizzerias.