Get ready for Pancake Day!
What on earth has Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, got to do with outdoor clothing for kids, you ask? Well, we’re always up for new and interesting ways to be outside, and Pancake Day offers loads of opportunities. Plus it’s the one day of the year when it’s socially acceptable to throw your food, making it especially fun for kids everywhere! This year it’s on 28 February. So get your frying pan, get your togs on and have a go at some of these…
Perhaps the most common way to celebrate with pancakes in the UK (apart from eating them) is to hold a pancake race. The idea is simple: participants run from the starting line to the finish line while holding a frying pan and tossing their pancake.
If little arms can’t cope with the weight of frying pans, or you don’t want to see yummy pancakes lost on the floor, you can substitute tennis racquets for the pans and get everyone to decorate their own cardboard pancake instead.
London has some long-established races, if you can get there to watch.
Pancake treasure hunt
In Canada tokens are mixed into the pancake batter, and the person who finds the token will receive that fortune. Traditionally a ring would indicate marriage, a coin signal wealth, or string denote that you would become a fisherman, for example.
You could adapt this tradition by choosing tokens of your own and hiding them outside for children to find, then cleaning them and adding to your batter. Come up with meanings together: perhaps a purple ribbon symbolises being king or queen for a day, a toy dinosaur symbolises super-strength, a shell symbolises a holiday? Obviously, be careful choosing your objects and supervise the finding and eating to avoid choking hazards!
Between the 12th and 19th centuries English towns had a tradition of holding ‘mob football’ games on public highways. Your children might be fascinated by the thought that it’s possible the first footballs for these games were severed heads!
It’s now illegal to play football on public highways, but why not have a friendly match and refuel with pancakes at half time and at the final whistle?
Many countries celebrate the period before Lent with carnivals. These can take many forms, from masked balls to street parades. In Denmark, for example, children play slå katten af tønden or "hit the cat out of the barrel" (fortunately, it no longer involves cats). A bit like piñata, children take it in turns to hit a barrel, until sweets fall out.
Borrowing from the carnival tradition is a great excuse for children to dress up, get creative, collect treats (another treasure hunt, perhaps?) and go a little wild as they process with friends to school or nursery.
If you’ve had enough of the real thing, or don’t want to get cooking, then get outside and make some mud pancakes! Add some grass or seed toppings and you’re ready to go with a mud picnic. You probably won’t want to toss these ones though. We recommend with warming up with a cup of hot chocolate afterwards instead.
We hope that’s inspired you to get outside this Pancake Day! Don’t forget to share your pictures with us!