Our family loves a lazy morning on the weekend with a freshly whipped up batch of pancakes! Our little 3 year old loves helping too, and takes his part in the cook up extremely seriously! Hands washed, apron on, and chair dragged into prime position, he and I are all set to go for another fun and easy ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ adventure!
This recipe was a success story of an experiment too which I’m excited to share! It is super low fat, low (refined) sugar (ie. not including fructose), quick and easy, with lots of steps for little ones’ fine motor practise. Not too convinced that your kids can be paired together with your kitchen for some cooking action? – I’ve also listed a few tips for setting up and managing as assistants to enthusiastic mini head chefs!
RECIPE (makes approx 12 small pancakes):
To one mixing bowl, add:
1 1/2 cups self raising flour (white, unbleached)
Handful of sultanas
Cinnamon shakes – to taste
Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients, then add:
3/4 cup milk
Juice of an orange
Flesh of a 2nd orange – diced
HOW CAN KIDS GET INVOLVED?
- Fetching required items (bowl, pan, spoon, spatula, ingredients… as appropriate in your kitchen set up)
- Watching – front row stalls for a real life cooking show!! (seated in a high chair or standing/sitting on a seat at the kitchen bench)
- Tasting/feeling – flour, milk, orange, sultanas… mmm!
- Pouring ingredients into the bowl (flour, milk, cracked eggs, orange juice and pieces) – practising slow and steady movements, not spilling the contents until over the bowl.
- Sifting the flour -highly optional (!!) but a fun step for kids, time and energy permitting!
- Opening the cinnamon container and shaking the cinnamon – great hand skills! (Just check that the whole top isn’t likely to come loose or the entire contents may empty into the mix – trust me, I know from experience!)
- Juicing the orange
- Stirring the mixture (intermittently throughout) – bilateral coordination – practising holding the bowl with one hand (the stabiliser), and stirring with the other (the manipulator).
- Smelling (how good does fresh orange juice smell – and cinnamon – don’t even get me started on how irresistible it is!)
- Counting the pancakes as they are added to the pan and taken out again.
- Waiting and looking out for bubbles on the top of the pancake mixes.
- Moving the pan a little once the pancakes have been flipped – controlling small forward/backward movements.
- Patting and/or flipping the pancakes (once they are pretty much done!) – isn’t the flipping a good part of why we love making pancakes in the first place?! It’s the dramatic finish!
- Wiping down/ cleaning the cooking bench
- Serving up
- Setting the table
- Washing up!
Preschoolers/School Aged Kids (in addition to all of the above ideas):
- Cracking the eggs (our 3 year old loves practising this and checking for shell!)
- Measuring the ingredients out.
- Adding the pancake mix to the pan with a ladle or large spoon
- Timing the cooking times and checking the heat level of the stove top.
TOP TIPS FOR A SMOOTH SAILING COOKING SESSION WITH KIDS:
- Clear the kitchen bench/working area before starting! (obvious but really helpful!)
- Talk through what you are doing as you are going so kids get to learn what you do so often just automatically!
- Sometimes some steps are too dangerous for little hands, and sometimes the supervising adult is either too tired, stressed or short of time to extend a 10 minute job into a long, messy affair! So, it might be reassuring to remember that kids don’t need to complete or even physically assist with every step involved, every time! Watching ‘up close’ can still be exciting in between opportunities to join in actively, and it’s great practise in turn taking – noticing, waiting, and imitating. Even helping with just one or two steps is a great experience for kids!
- Remember the simple steps to scaffolding kids’ independence: demonstrating (with narration – what are you doing? how? why?)–>assisting your child ‘hand over hand’ – by completing the step with your hand over top of your child so they can feel the action/force required–> verbally prompting (talking them through it whilst they have a go independently)–> setting up and supervising (making sure they have what they need all set up ready to go and watching closely)
- Practise safety/hygiene with the kids – washing hands, keeping an eye on the hot/dangerous parts of the stove and pan.
- Have fun! Sing! Laugh! …don’t take it too seriously!
- Praise kids’ efforts and thank them! What a great feeling for kids to know they’ve helped put breaky on the table!
These pancakes are nothing fancy, but they are fresh, quick and easy, and go down a treat with fruit and yoghurt. Honey would also be a nice touch for the sweet tooths out there!