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It's Pancake Day! Let's Dress Up!

Fun ways for kids to dress up, decorate, and parade on Shrove Tuesday

Is that a pancake we can smell frying? This February 13th 2024, It’s Pancake Day here in the UK, or Mardi Gras as it is known in many European countries and the US. How this special day is celebrated very much varies. Most folk who observe pancake day recognise its historical roots as ‘Fat Tuesday’, or the day in the Christian calendar where ‘luxurious’ goods of butter and flour are used up in a tasty treat ahead of Lent, when fasting will occur. In the UK, Pancake Day focuses mainly on a good old fashioned pancake stack, however, in many cultures, dressing up and parades also accompany the day. Again, this ties back to the oncoming days of Lent, where the focal point is restraint. In this last ‘hoo-ra’ many folk dress up in colourful costumes to enjoy excess and vibrancy before entering a point of reflection. We don’t need to teach you how to make or flip a pancake - so in this post we’ll be sharing the side of Pancake Day you see a little less - dress up and decoration. Why not dress up and parade around your home before tucking into pancakes? With this in mind, let’s explore our favourite ways to do just that.

Dress up!

Dress up needn’t require new purchases. Simple sheets, scarves, ribbons and handmade masks will all set your little ones up for a fun day of parading. You might like to incorporate a little crafting with this superhero mask kit - or you could simply make your own with card, colouring pens and string to tie the mask on! 

If you’re looking for something a little special, our brand Great Pretenders offers a stunning array of well-made dress-up that will be handed down over and over again to the various children in your life.

A natural dress-up choice for many little ones is a regal one - princess, prince and knight costumes! This beautiful gown will make princess lovers very happy indeed. For something a little more ‘throw on’, this beautifully made regal cape will be a favourite.

‘People Who Help Us’ is a very common learning theme used in the early years of nursery and school, for good reason. Little ones, as a result, love to dress up as important community figures such as firefighters. We have a wonderful costume just for that. If your little one wants to take the ‘helper’ theme a little more metaphorical, this fantastic superhero costume will certainly be popular! 

Another option here is face paint- find a hypoallergenic and eco-friendly brand, and practice painting fun characters or animals on your faces! 

Decorate!

With your costumes prepared, it’s time to decorate your house, carnival style! There are plenty of simple decorations to go with here. You might like to make concertina garlands by folding a large piece of card or paper 4 to 5 times, then cutting out a simple shape and threading these along doorways. Waldorf window stars can be made with tissue paper, and are a lovely way to add vibrancy and carnival colour to your home. This window star tutorial is a lovely example of that. 

If you have re-useable party decorations like these from Meri Meri, now might be a great time to get them back out and give them another lease of life, too!

Parade!

Finally, it’s time to have pancakes parade! Now your home is decorated, your little ones are dressed up and your pancakes are ready, enjoy the carnival celebrations. You might like to find a child-friendly video of a Mardi-Gras parade and recreate it, or simply pop on some fun music and have a dance. Happy Pancake Day, however you celebrate!

Emily Hanson

Freelance Writer, Education and Play Specialist

Emily Hanson is a freelance writer with specialisms in education and play. Emily holds a PGCE and M.Ed from the University of Cambridge - although her proudest achievements are her two beautiful daughters.

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