Pancake Day

We would highly recommend that you delve in depth into the tradition of Pancake Day by spending a couple of weeks on it so that children have an opportunity to embed new knowledge and practise key skills. 

Some Interesting Facts

  • Shrove Tuesday is Christian festival celebrated in lots of different countries.
  • It falls on the Tuesday before Lent. Lent is the time before Easter (about 6 weeks). During Lent Christians gave up the luxuries to remember the time Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to fast and pray. 
  • The exact date of Shrove Tuesday changes every year but it is always on Tuesday, 47 days before Easter Sunday.
  • During Lent Christians give up rich food such as butter, eggs, sugar and fat. Shrove Tuesday is the last day to use them so people make them into pancakes.
  • In the UK, Australia and Canada Shrove Tuesday is also called Pancake Day. In Germany it is called “Fastnach’,  in Iceland it is called “Sprengidagur” and in France it is called “Mardi Gras” 
  • In the United Kingdom 52 million eggs are used on Pancake Day.
  • The first pancake race was in 1445 in England when a woman was making pancakes and she was late for church so she ran out of the house carrying her frying pan and pancake with her.

Our Favourite Pancake Stories

‘Mama Manya’s Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlain' is a village tale from Kenya. It is a great story to teach young children about how festivals are celebrated differently in other countries. 

Mama Manya’s Pancakes

  1. Be brave…take a risk…and light a fire. Collect firewood and kindling to get the fire going and then use it to cook pancakes. When you are finished let the children put the fire out with sand.
  2. Share maps of Kenya and encourage the children to find out about the country e.g. capital city and important landmarks. Invite the children to draw their own map of Kenya.
  3. Build huts out of mud and straw like the homes in the story. 
  4. Hold a competition to see who can carry a pot on their head and how far they can go. 
  5. Have a tasting session to try the ingredients that Mamma used in her recipe eg chilli, pepper, cardamon spice, cumin. 
  6. Try different pancakes e.g. chapatti, crepe, tortilla and record which are the most popular. 

Mr Wolf’s Pancakes by Jan Fearnley is a humorous tale. It has important messages about how to treat others, persevering when things are difficult and demonstrating how to make pancakes. 

Mr Wolf’s Pancakes

  1. Make a basket for Mr Wolf to carry home his pancake ingredients
  2. Write letters from Mr Wolf’s neighbours to say sorry for being unkind to him.
  3. Calculate how many pancakes Mr Wolf would need to feed all his neighbours. How many would he need if everyone had 2 each? 
  4. Write a shopping list for Mr Wolf listing all the ingredients he needs. 
  5. Set up a role play shop selling all the ingredients for pancakes. 
  6. Research with the children to find out where eggs, flour, sugar and butter come from? 
  7. Make a chef’s hat for Mr Wolf. Use strips of white card as a headband and join (by sticking or stapling) white tissue paper or a white paper napkin to create the main part of the hat. 
  8. Add dice to your playdough table for children to calculate how many pancakes to make. 
  9. Make pancakes from different materials e.g. play dough, pastry, paper plates, and experiment to see which are the easiest/hardest to toss.