Ideas for a Shrove Tuesday event with children.
Use these ideas to enliven a simple pancake party, or go for the whole lot and have a children’s or all-age activity evening.
You may want to start by explaining briefly some of the background to Shrove Tuesday.
No one knows how long people have made pancakes. Some people compare them to the flat bread made by primitive families more than 12,000 years ago. We can only think that the families had as much fun making their pancakes then as we do today.
Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day, highlights the start of Lent. In the past there would have been great feasts held to use up supplies of fat, butter and eggs. These foods were forbidden during Lent. The idea was that people gave up these foods for the whole period. Lent lasts for 40 days and 40 nights and reminds us of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness before his ministry began, praying and being tempted by Satan. During this time Jesus fasted from food. Lent ends with Easter Sunday.
Talk about people today sometimes choosing to give up a special food they like, just as the people at the feast did. There are often two parts to this – the first being as a symbol of discipline, commitment to God, and being sorry for sin, and the second being that the money normally spent on your special food is saved during Lent and given to the church on Easter Sunday. A lot of people today choose to do an extra job or task instead of, or as well as giving something up. It may be collecting the hymn books up after the church service, or raising money for a good cause. Perhaps during your pancake eating, you could encourage those present to think of something to do either individually or as part of a group. Ask everyone to write up their fasts and resolutions for Lent on a giant paper pancake. Pray together for help to carry them out.
40 day resolutions
Suggestions for group resolutions during Lent.
- Collect 40 tins of soup or more for a centre for the homeless, or refugees.
- Collect 40 toys in good condition for a local hospital, day centre, playgroup or after school club.
- Collect 40 story books for your local school or doctor’s or dentist’s waiting rooms.
- Collect 40 grown-up books and donate to an old folks’ home. Large print books may be good.
- Raise money and buy 40 Bibles or hymn books for your own church, or a Church abroad if they are needed.
- If everyone collected 40 pennies (or 20-pence pieces, or pounds) in your church, how much could you all raise together?
- Have a pancake party and sell or auction pancakes in different flavours to raise money for a good cause.
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
250ml milk (or milk and water)
- Mix flour and salt into a basin, make a hollow in the centre and drop in the egg.
- Stir with a wooden spoon and add liquid gradually, until all the flour is worked in.
- Beat well and add remaining liquid.
- For each pancake, melt a small amount of fat in a frying pan. When it begins to smoke, stir the batter and add 2 tbsp in the pan.
- When golden underneath, turn or flip and cook other side. Add your own choice of filling.
A quiz to do in groups. You will need to print out the wordsearch.
Introduce the quiz by explaining that many countries have pancakes of one kind or another – though they have different names. Write on a flip chart all the ones you can think of together. Then compare with the list below.
Hot cakes (American)
Egg rolls (China)
Then hand out the wordsearch to find all those words. It could be a race.
Different people from around the world have, of course, different ideas about what tastes good in their style of pancake. Why not try one of these...
Belgium – chocolate
Britain – lemon and sugar
Caribbean – banana and coconut
China – stir fry and prawn
France – Brie, Camembert, and French onion
Germany – frankfurter and sauerkraut
Italy – tomato and Mozzarella
India – vegetable curry
Switzerland – Emmenthal and ham
Cover a frisbee in brown paper so it looks like a pancake, or just call your frisbee a pancake. Everyone stands around in a circle and is given the name of a country. One chosen person is the frying pan, who says, ‘I send my pancake to...’ and name the person and their country name. When it is caught by, for example, France, that person has to either send it to another country or back to the frying pan. Alternatively, why not try using the different names of the pancakes from the wordsearch?
Have a selection of frying pans, and make pretend pancakes using either carpet underlay, carpet squares or corrugated cardboard from supermarket boxes. Cut whichever you use into circles (with cardboard you might need several layers stuck together for enough weight).
Line contestants at a starting line, each with frying pan and pancake. On go, they head towards the finishing line – but they must flip the pancake ten times before reaching the finishing line. Each contestant will need someone to count for them and stop any cheating!
Dear Jesus, at this special celebration, help us to have fun.
We pray for all those we will help during Lent.
Please bless them over and over again.
Dear Jesus, as we enjoy Shrove Tuesday with a pancake or two,
we thank you for the fun and fellowship we share.
Lord help us to think.
As we think of the start of Lent, we remember what that means.
Let us help others during this time of forty days and nights.
Lord let us help others.
As we remember the joy and laughter we have had today,
let us all make a difference, be it big or small, to folk in our country, or abroad.
Lord allow us to make a difference.