At toucanBox HQ we love pancake day, and getting the kids involved makes it even more fun. The recipe is a simple one, but requires some skill in getting it right. Measuring out and weighing ingredients hones some very important maths skills. Following the instructions helps with sequencing development and learning about imperative verbs (we’ll get to that in a bit). And, if we’re reading a beautifully illustrated children’s book that hammers home some truths about where our food comes from, say like Eric Carle’s Pancakes, Pancakes, for example, we can understand a little more about the world. That’s before we’ve practiced flipping, accidentally getting a pancake stuck on the kitchen ceiling, dousing them in lemon and sugar and pigging out, all culminating in the best Tuesday of the entire year. Let’s face it: making pancakes is really fun, and the sprinkling of learning along the way just makes it that much better.
With our healthy-kick January recipe we explained some key skills kids can learn in the kitchen, from following steps to measuring and developing fine motor movement. When you’re making your pancake recipe, encourage the kids to do all of the measuring and mixing - it gets tricky to get them super involved in adding the oil and batter to the pan (especially considering how hot the pan has to be!). Oh, and cracking eggs is really, really fun; you just might want to make sure you have a few in reserve, just in case of breakages…
Imperative verbs are an important literacy tool for kids to get to grips with, and are always most prominent in instructions. In short, imperative verbs are instructive doing words, usually coming at the beginning of a sentence. They present you with a clear action to take - mix, combine, stir - in a slightly bossy way. We’ve added the imperative verbs in bold - read the instructions out to your child and see if they can follow them!
We’re not reinventing the wheel here; here’s a simple recipe just in case you don’t have one to hand. The mixture should make enough for four people, depending on how thick you like your pancakes and how greedy you’re all feeling. And no, we’re not judging; on pancake day, the greedier the better.
1 Sift the flour into a big mixing bowl.
2 Crack two eggs. Beat them together. Pour the eggs into the mixing bowl.
3 Measure out your milk in a measuring jug, then pour into the mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt.
4 Whisk together the mixture to make your batter. Make sure there are no lumps.
5 Place the oil in the pan, and turn the hob to a high heat. You can either swirl the oil in the pan and pour into a separate container to reuse for each pancake, use a piece of kitchen roll to wipe the oil around the pan, or just use some spray oil, adding a few sprays before adding the batter each time.
6 Pour a ladle of batter into the pan. Hold the handle and rotate the pan to spread the batter around. After a couple of minutes, it’s time to flip. Use a spatula to make sure the pancake hasn’t stuck. Flip the pancake over!
7 Place your pancake onto a plate. Add your toppings of choice! Repeat until you’re very, very full.
To celebrate Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (whichever you choose to call it) we’ve got a few activities you can download, print out and play! Solve a word search, learn a few facts and draw your own pancake toppings.
And just as a little, um, treat, we decided to share with you the very first (and more than likely last) edition of Story Time With James. Pancakes, Pancakes is a charming little read from the wonderful mind of Eric Carle, and explores where each ingredient needed to make pancakes comes from. If you’d like to watch James struggle his way through the story, click the big old play button below.