Though my kids are young elementary-age and most of their schooling is decided by me, I’ve begun incorporating a little more interest-led and life-skill based education into our homeschooling days. This year I asked my nine-year old to choose a subject he’d like to learn more about. He chose cooking.
Since he’s our oldest child, as well as the pickiest eater of the five kids, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I guessed, with more food knowledge his palette would expand and he’d become more willing to try new foods that he helped prepare. Or, that he’d get further stuck in his favorites–but at least now he’d know how to make them.
Either way, it seemed like a great idea to turn dinnertime over once a week and let him have plenty of supervised experimentation in the kitchen. And happily, he’s taken this weeknight responsibility quite seriously–even (unprompted) checking out simple cookbooks from the library and making regular grocery list requests.
Pancakes are one of his favorite foods to cook, and today we wanted to share a fun way to combine pancakes, school, and art.
Supplies for Pancake Art
To make pancake art, you’ll need:
- prepared pancake batter
- food coloring
- plastic squeeze bottles
Making Pancake Art
Prepare your pancake batter according to package directions or from your favorite recipe. Then divide the batter into the squeeze bottles, and tint each bottle with food coloring. We prefer the gel-type food coloring for brighter colors, but liquid drops work too.
Lightly oil the griddle, and turn to medium heat. When warm, gently squeeze patterns of colored batter onto the griddle.
(I know this is probably obvious, but please, please be careful when cooking with kids and heat. Supervision and age-appropriate abilities should be factored into this activity. My younger ones are just as fascinated by this project when they sit back from the heat and watch.)
A few pancake art tips:
- Sometimes a glob of batter will get stuck in the tip of the squeeze bottle, so keep a toothpick or something handy to quickly unclog.
- When bubbles on the top of the batter begin to pop, and edges look cooked, pancakes are ready to flip.
- Keeping the griddle on fairly low heat cooks your art slowly, and prevents the cakes from browning too much.
We’re no professionals, and usually just go with whatever designs we can swirl up. But sometimes it’s fun to create pancake snacks to go along with subjects we’re learning. My preschoolers were particularly excited to make butterfly life-cycle pancakes.
In fact, with a little creativity, pancake art would be fun for just about any subject. Author study? Human body unit? Hands-on geography quiz? Sure! Why not?
Do your kids like to help in the kitchen? What life-skills do you incorporate into your homeschool days?