Everybody loves pancakes! Find lots of ideas for family fun and good eating when you learn about the pancake traditions celebrated in the week leading up to International Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)—the day prior the start of the Lenten season.
International Pancake Day
- Learn all about this world-renowned pancake competition held on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. Celebrate a week of pancake eating this year, enjoying all kinds of rich tasting versions from around the globe. Just about everyone loves pancakes!
Pancake flipping competitions and your own pancake races are sure to bring fun and laughter to your party. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Foil pie plates are easier and safer than skillets for races involving running.
- Tape rulers or wooden paint stirrers to foil pie plates to make 'skillets' for flipping contests so each child has one. Round plastic lids from food storage containers or coffee cans, potholders or 'pancakes' crafted from art materials make less mess than using real pancakes, but may not seem as much the real thing! You decide.
- For a flipping contest, children stand with arms holding skillets extended and flip pancakes on signal (Ready, set, flip!), keeping the pancake in the skillet, until all but one child are eliminated. That child is the winner. Depending on age of children, you can add flipping height requirements or, for smaller children, that the pancake is simply tossed a certain height and caught.
- Relay races can take their cue from the famous Pancake Day races in Olney, England, and Liberal, Kansas. Divide participants into two equal groups like a traditional relay race. The first person in each line must tie on an apron and headscarf (or put on a cap), flip a pancake in a skillet, then run carrying skillet and pancake the designated race distance, where they flip the pancake again before passing apron, scarf and skillet to next person who repeats the action. First side to finish wins. Depending on age of participants, set penalty or disqualifying terms—if any—for dropped pancakes before relay's start. It's traditional that the town vicar or minister start the race with the ringing of a bell and then gets to kiss the winners! Designate someone to play that part.
Stacks of Pancake Ideas
- Simply make pancakes together, letting children help with measuring, adding ingredients to bowl, whisking and pouring batter on griddle—with careful supervision, of course—using a gravy ladle to keep pancake sizes the same. Older children can flip pancakes.
- Who can eat the most pancakes? Make our Silver Dollar Pancakes so everyone can feel like they ate a lot of them!
- Other European countries call this day by other names such as Fastnacht and many more! If your family's roots are in one of them, explore and celebrate with traditional foods and fun.
- Check the library or your child's own book collection for children's books with pancake themes—there are lots of them! Read it together or dramatize the story if it is a familiar one. Or let new readers proudly show a caring adult their skill by reading the story to them.