Early Years Pancake Day Ideas & Activities

When is Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it is sometimes known, is a traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting, and Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the fast, and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients. As well as eating pancakes it is traditional to have pancake races and toss pancakes!

What is a Pancake?

A pancake is a thin, flat cake, made of batter and fried in a frying pan. A traditional English pancake is very thin and is served immediately. Lemon juice and caster sugar are the usual toppings for pancakes.

How do you make a Pancake?

To make 8 pancakes you will need 8oz plain flour, 2 large eggs, 1 pint milk, salt.

Mix all the ingredients together and whisk well. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Heat a little oil in a frying pan until very hot, pour in enough batter to cover the base of the pan and let it cook until the pancake has browned. Then shake the pan to loosen the pancake then flip it over to brown the other side.

Don’t forget to check out these delicious pancake recipes as well – Easy Allergy-Friendly Pancake Recipe and Pink Berry Allergy-Friendly Pancake Recipe.

Pancake Races

On Pancake Day, “pancake races” are held across the United Kingdom. The tradition apparently started in 1445 when a housewife was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake, tossing it to prevent it from burning. The pancake race is still a common festive tradition in the UK, especially England. Participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in the pan while running.

Shrove Tuesday Activities:

Have some fun on Shrove Tuesday with some different activities that can link in with your early years setting. Let us know how you get on this Pancake Day via our Facebook or Twitter page!

Creative Development


Make paper pancakes – on a circle of brown paper use collage materials that resemble toppings that could be put onto a pancake: fruit, chocolate sauce, marshmallows – talk to the children about different toppings they could use and what resources they could use to create their toppings.


5 flat pancakes in a bakers shop

Round and flat with sugar on the top

Along came (Childs name) with a penny one day

Bought a flat pancake and took it away.

Continue the rhyme with 4 flat pancakes

Communication Language Literacy

Share some stories about Pancakes: Pancakes, pancakes by Eric Carle or Mr Wolf’s Pancakes by Jan Fearnley

Use Circle time to talk about Pancakes: for example, the ingredients used, whether the children are going to have some at home, what they may have as a topping.

Mathematical Development

Pancake number games – cut circles of brown paper and number them 1 – 10. Have some frying pan shapes cut from card and let the children stack the pancakes in numerical order onto the frying pans.

Physical Development

Pancake tossing races. Try and toss some pancakes during a race!

Create a trail with equipment outside which children have to follow whilst balancing the pancake in a frying pan.

Role Play

Have paper chef’s hats, white aprons and children’s bakery equipment in your home corner including bowls, spoons, whisks, jugs, plates, frying pans etc. The children can re-enact cooking and tossing the pancakes!


Knowledge & Understanding of the World

Explain some of the history around Pancake Day, how the pancakes were made, cooked then eaten!

Personal Social Emotional

Do they like Pancakes? Likes and dislikes, which toppings and fillings do the children prefer?

After cooking the pancakes, let the children wash up a few of the dishes to show them how it is good practice to clean and look after the equipment.

For more ideas, take a look at our Animal Pancakes:

animal pancakes

We would love to see how you get on! Send us pictures of your masterpieces on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and don’t forget to use the hashtag #EYRhub.

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