Clara is a fan of Mother Goose Club and a contributing writer for our blog. She is a mother of two daughters and lives in New York City. She is passionate about food and loves to tinker with recipes to make it easy for busy moms. Her daughter, Beatrice, is often her sous-chef in the kitchen on weekends. She believes sharing the love of cooking with children can foster joy, connection, creativity and healthy eating habits.
One of my secrets in the kitchen is incorporating math while teaching my daughter how to cook. Cooking is a terrific way to introduce simple mathematical concepts, allowing children to begin conceptualizing and understanding addition, multiplication, fractions, number order, ratios and more.
So what is a good recipe that’s doable for kids? Pancakes! Our family eats gluten-free, so we use a pancake mix called Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix, found on Amazon at the link below. It tastes so good that even my friends who aren’t gluten-free absolutely LOVE it. It comes with simple, mistake-proof instructions on the back.
How do I use pancakes to teach math? First, I ask my daughter to measure how many cups of the mix we need to make for the number of people we plan to serve. If the package says you need 1 cup of the mix for 4 people, how many cups do we need for 8 people? Voila – 2 cups it is!
We love adding bananas into the pancakes – it naturally adds that extra sweetness. I ask my daughter to slice the bananas into equal parts, which teaches basic division and cutting skills. If each pancake needs 5 slices of banana, how many do we need to make 8 pancakes? 40 banana slices!
Next, we add the eggs. Encourage your child read the directions on the package to decipher the amount needed.
Make sure to use another bowl to crack the eggs, since little pieces of shell can fall into the mixing bowl. You can also introduce a concept called mise en place, a French culinary term that means “everything in its place”, so that your family can cook more efficiently and safely.
Time to mix the batter! Kids LOVE this part – one less task for the parent!
Fire up the stove, use a little coconut oil in your pan to give the pancakes a nutty flavor, and scoop your batter into the pan. You should wait until bubbles form at the edge of the pancake as it cooks, and then flip it just once.
An opportunity to instill patience!
Now the best part – pouring maple syrup on top!
Sometimes I ask my daughter to cut the pancakes in halves or quarters as a serving size, which illustrates division in a real-world way.
You can also add blueberries, walnuts and other ingredients of your choosing. Kids love chocolate, of course. I like to use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, which can also be found on Amazon below. They’re dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free.
And there you have it! In just 20-30 minutes, thoroughly delicious and healthy pancakes for the family! Plus, we learned some math along the way! It’s become one of my favorite activities to do on a Saturday morning. The most important part is the quality time – be creative and have fun with it together!
Cheers to joyful eating,