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Preschool on a Budget: Pancake Letters and Numbers

A few times a month, I’m going to be sharing some Preschool on a Budget ideas here. These will be things you can do to teach letters and numbers using items you probably already have on hand. For more suggestions, be sure to check out my post on 15 Recommended Preschool & Kindergarten Resources.

We love pancakes at our house. We love them plain, we love them chocolate, we love them pumpkin, and we especially love them with chocolate chips.

Pancakes are also a fantastic and fun way to reinforce the shapes and sounds of letters.

Just mix up your favorite pancake batter.

Find a sturdy plastic bag and snip one of the corners off.

Pour batter into the bag.

And squeeze it into the shape of a letter on a hot griddle.

The end result? Fun pancakes that help your preschooler learn their number or letters. You could also make shapes, too.

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  • Jess says:

    As another option, I load pancake batter into the picnic-type ketchup/mustard bottles and squeeze out any shape our hearts desire…they work great! Cheap from a dollar store and they work beautifully for batter, icing cookies (leave them upside down in a cup between cookies), etc…

  • Pamela says:

    Fun! I can’t wait to do this with my 3 year old. Thanks for the idea.

  • Robyn S. says:

    I love this idea! Such an easy way to teach while making memories! I am definitely going to do this!! Thanks for the idea!

    • Abbygail Mendoza says:

      It does make great memories! I remember my mom doing this for us when we were little. We were always disappointed though when we just got round pancakes!

  • Jennifer says:

    Wonderful idea!! Thanks so much for sharing! Your little guy looked so excited…cute!

  • Melody says:

    Great idea. And I bet you could do this will all sorts of things. My 3 and a half year old will love this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Heather H says:

    Oh, thank you for this series…always love new, fresh ideas! I have stamped out sugar cookies before of letters/numbers and froze the ones we weren’t using at the time for learning, but love this breakfast option too. I think I am going to have to do this with my daughter and have her count out the number we made of mini chocolate chips to sprinkle on top!

  • dthogue says:

    we also use the ketchup bottles – we also add food coloring to our batter

  • What a cute idea! I am going to try this with my kids this weekend.

  • Julie says:

    I love to make pancakes into shapes for specail occasions. I do the kids age for their birthday, hearts for Valentines day. I’ts special and fun. I do find that if I use some cheaper store brand bags I have to double them up so the seam does not split when pushing the mix out.

    My first thought to this post was how adorable your son is though!

    • Cindy says:

      It’s our tradition to have age/number pancakes on birthdays too…served on a special “It’s My Birthday” plate! It’s something my mom did for us when we were growing up…and now my kids look forward to it too…never letting me forget to make them! In fact, my husband even gets up early to make them on my birthday 😉

  • When we were little my dad would spell our names in pancakes for our birthdays. Or make a giant first letter of a longer name.

  • Allison says:

    Crystal, Where did your baby go? He looks sooooo big 🙂 Love the big guy hairstyle.

  • Sheila says:

    The Pampered Chef Baster works great for this too. I tend to make the batter a bit thinner and it works great! We use an electric griddle on the island countertop and the kids can watch all the cool designs as you make them. Mickey Mouse is fun too!

  • Pam says:

    Thanks for the great idea! Every week, I post my preschool plans for the week. I use free printables that are available on the internet or supplies that I find at the $1 store.

  • Lyn says:

    I used to do something similar, my kids called it a secret message pancake. After making a shape, (heart, smiley face, short message, etc) let it cook briefly, don’t flip yet. Then fill completely around it with more batter to make a regular shape pancake. When you flip it the shaped part is darker. Viola secret message 🙂

  • august says:

    How far along is Silas with his numbers now? He’s almost 6 months older than my son, but it seems like he gets so muh more exposure than mine. I don’t know any people around with children my son’s age, nor is he old enough for shool. I’m in college, so needless to say, the amount of time I have to spend with him is a lot lower than I’d like. I’m always worried I’m not doing enough and he’s going to fall behind.

    • Crystal says:

      He can count pretty high, but we’re still working on number recognition for 5-10… and he only really *got* 1-5 in the last six months. We teach a lot through life… just counting everyday objects, etc. and then we have a little focused preschool time every day, plus lots of read alouds and picture books.

      I wouldn’t stress over it, though, as boys often aren’t too interested in “school” stuff until they are a little older. Silas loves our “preschool time”, but if he wasn’t acting interested, I’d definitely not be pushing it. If you can, read aloud to your son at least a few times per week and talk about numbers and letters while you’re going about everyday life (you can practice counting in the bathtub or while washing hands, etc.), but don’t stress over it. I’m sure you’re doing a great job!

  • Lara says:

    Thanks for sharing Crystal! I also use this ziplock method for icing and one technique I thought I’d share is to put the batter in the bag before snipping a corner off 🙂 This way you wouldn’t need to watch out if the batter is spilling out the bag while you are transferring it in the ziplock bag. Hope it helps!

  • Mary Beth Patnaude says:

    He is so cute! Looks like fun. I will have to try with my preschool boy!

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