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How to celebrate Shrove Tuesday with your kids.

How to celebrate Shrove Tuesday with your kids.

by Karen Rewcastle July 19, 2019

Happy Pancake Day! An old European tradition dating way back.

At Snail Mail Stories we love all things vintage and nostalgic. We also love learning about history and culture. We take all opportunities to play and learn with our kids - simply, sustainably and in our homes. 

Therefore we have put together a list of 10 ways you can celebrate Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) with your children. 


What is Pancake Day?


Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day is a well-known tradition that is celebrated in many different parts of the world.

It’s origins are embedded in the Christian Faith. Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, a time when many Christians would fast (abstain from food). Today is more common to give up ‘a treat’ for a period of time (chocolate, ice-cream, computer games...).

In times gone by people would use up the food they had in preparation for Lent - many would make pancakes. Hence, Pancake Day! 



Pancake Day can be a fun day for any family. It gets families in the kitchen cooking together, it’s a great opportunity for kids to learn about other cultures and traditions, and it’s also a great chance to contemplate the idea of not wasting food and using up what you have!



10 ways to celebrate Pancake Day as a family


1. Make pancakes. There are a number of great recipes. The real fun part is deciding what toppings to have on your pancakes and how you will decorate your pancake with each topping. 



2. Toss a pancake. The really fun part.....when it’s time to flip your pancake! Flip it high in the air and try to catch it in your frying pan. This part of the tradition can make some lovely, funny, family memories - as you can imagine! 



3. Have a pancake scramble - just like Westminster School in the UK. Westminster school takes the tradition of flipping your pancake to the next level with their annual Pancake Grease. A school cook tosses a huge pancake over a five-metre high bar. The boys then race to grab a portion of the pancake.


4. Have a pancake race. Sounds crazy but it happens. People across the world race against each other, frying pans in hand. The most famous pancake race takes place at Olney, Buckinghamshire in the UK. Competitors each have a frying pan containing a hot pancake and must toss this three times during the race.



5. Have a game of soccer. Many towns throughout England used to hold traditional Shrove Tuesday ‘Mob Football’ games dating back to the 12th century. This is a game on which modern soccer is loosely based (except during a game of ‘Mob Football’ the entire village took part, there were very few rules and the ball was a blown up pigs bladder!). A number of towns still maintain this tradition, such as Alnwick, Northumberland in the UK, however these days most people prefer a gentle kick around with friends. 



6. Find out about how different countries celebrate Pancake Day. For example in Canada objects are baked into the pancakes for the eaters to find, in Germany, Austria, and Lithuania people eat doughnuts instead of pancakes, whilst in France people have a Mardi Gras style celebration on Shrove Tuesday!



7. Read the traditional children’s story, ‘The Runaway Pancake’. Can the runaway pancake escape being eaten by a whole family, a dog, a rabbit, a duck, a cat, a goat, a fox and a shrewd old pig? 



8. There are many different versions of ‘The Runaway Pancake’ from different countries that you could read. The more popular version of this story is, ‘The Gingerbread Man’ (USA), the Scottish have a version called, ‘The Wee Bunnock’. 



9. Think of other food you have in your kitchen that you could use up in different ways. Wasting food is bad for the environment. New Zealanders throw away 157,389 tonnes of food a year. Pancake Day could become an annual tradition of looking in your pantry and using up what food could end up going to waste - a great life lesson for your little eco-warriors. 




10. Ask your kids to consider why people may give up a treat for a short period of time. What could be the benefits? Would it make you appreciate how lucky you are? Maybe if you did not eat sweets for a week you could give that money to charity? 


What is Snail Mail Stories?

Snail Mail Stories uses traditional post to inspire kids to learn and play in a sustainable way. We send different themed envelopes, filled with fun learning activities, each month - celebrating the ‘teachable moments’ your child encounters throughout the year.

Your child's snail mail is delivered to their letterbox every month with the bits and bobs they need to complete their activities. 

A monthly subscription helps kids to develop literacy skills plus the future-focused skills of innovation, creativity and critical thinking. 

Plastic-free and sent in paper packaging, fictional pen pals Wendy and Wilde inspire kids to love and play in nature, and up-cycle things for craft.


What do you get?

A personalised letter (with an invitation to reply), a vintage poem and illustration, our Think’ card - open-ended questions designed as conversation starters, our ‘Do’ card - activities that encourage movement and outdoor play, our ‘Create’ card - ideas for sustainable arts and crafts, plus a craft pack and templates - all the bits and bobs you nee



Karen Rewcastle
Karen Rewcastle


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