As a child, I used to love anything that was miniature! Tiny flowers, tiny cutlery, miniature objects – anything. If your child loves cooking and if they love miniature things, this is the perfect activity for you. You can make it for yourselves or if you are planning a teddy bear picnic.

Best Ages for This Activity

Two to five years

How to Make It


You Will Also Need

  • A small pancake turner or flipper
  • A stove your child can access and a coated, non-stick (enameled) skillet. I recommend enameled because they are better for your health than Teflon or non-stick, but you can use whatever you normally cook with.
  • If your child cannot safely access your stove, you can use what we use at our schools: an electric griddle. We make lots of different recipes on them and they can sit on a child-sized table, where your child can cook a little more safely.

Let’s Get Started!

  • Invite your child to make tiny pancakes
  • Start by cleaning the work surface, then preparing the batter as per the instructions on your pancake mix or on my recipe for how to make fluffy pancakes.
  • Turn on the griddle or fire and pan to low medium heat.
  • Slightly grease the pan or griddle with a little butter (I use butter sticks that children can hold and “paint” the pan with (not too much butter – they need to move fast). If your child is too young for this part, you can grease the surface yourself.
  • Once the pan is buttered, sprinkle it generously with the rainbow sprinkles. Sprinkles burn if they are left in the frying pan too long so you will need to pour the batter on the frying pan (over the sprinkles) quite quickly.
    If your child is just learning and cannot go that fast, you can simply add the sprinkles to the batter instead. They will be less noticeable but will allow your child the time to practice making the pancakes, which is a more important skill to learn.
  • Using a teaspoon (to pour just a tiny bit of batter and make the pancakes very small) show your child how to pour pancake batter on the pan and watch it spread into a tiny circle. You can use a measuring cup with batter in in (you will pour about ¼ cup per pancake). You can also use a squirt bottle, which may be easier for them to handle. They just have to squeeze it gently so only a little bit of batter comes out. Be sure to supervise at all times as the pan is hot and can burn your little one.
  • If the batter is thick and does not spread, add a little more milk or water to it. The pancakes are so tiny that you will not be able to spread the batter easily, but if it is runny enough, it will spread into a circle on its own.
  • Teach your child that the pancakes are ready to be flipped when the underside is golden and little bubbles start to form on the surface of the pancake. Teach them how to flip a pancake and remember that as messy as things can get, this is helping your child become independent and learn all sorts of skills needed to succeed at school.
  • If you sprinkled the pan, try to flip the pancake onto a spot where there are still sprinkles loose, so they attach to your pancake.
  • Once they are ready, your child can proudly serve the pancakes to the whole family. Or to a family of teddy bears. What a wonderful way to contribute.
  • Serve with whipped cream on the side if desired. For even more fun with miniature things, pour some maple syrup in a tiny squirt bottle for your child to add to their tiny pancakes. So much fun!

Learning Opportunities

I love helping children learn to cook because it is a great life skill and an incredible way to contribute, to give of yourself to others, to do something for someone other than yourself, which children both love doing and need to do. By cooking with you, children feel great pride and benefit from a healthy self-esteem. They also learn to be independent and responsible. Children will learn S.T.E.M. while measuring, combining, mixing and counting. This recipe also has a great amount of hand-eye coordination skills and of fine motor skills, a precursor to writing. Following directions also teaches reading and S.T.E.M.

Doing this activity together also is a great opportunity for you and your child to connect. You can share life stories, ask them about them, their plans and get closer. You can ask, for example:

  • Who are you preparing tiny pancakes for?
  • How many tiny pancakes will we need then?
  • What is your favourite topping for the pancakes? What is theirs?
  • Who else likes pancakes? (Grandma? Uncle? Friends from school?)

Distributing the pancakes equally amongst all family members is also 1 to 1 correspondence – a math concept. It also works on the math concepts of estimating quantities, measuring, division and many others.

Making the pancakes, cleaning the workspace and the dishes are essential life skills. Cooking in itself is also an important life skill and sharing what they cooked with the rest of the family teaches your child the habit of contribution and thinking of others.

Extended Learning Opportunities

  • Invite your child to serve the pancakes to their teddy bears or other small dolls or stuffed animals for dramatic play. See my teddy bear picnic activity for ideas.
  • Instead of sprinkles, use one chocolate chip per tiny pancake. This will teach your child math and fine motor skills, as your child will have to use tongs or tweezers to pick up one chocolate chip and add it to the pancake before flipping it.

CEFA tip: Remember to let your child do as much of the process as they are capable of.

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