Pancake Men (from Little House in the Big Woods)

My children (4 and 7) and I are currently reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods. If you're unfamiliar with the original Little House books, I can't recommend them enough. Both my children are enthralled, and I love them, too. As we read, we are doing little projects that go with the story - so when we read about Ma's pancake men, my children cried, "Please? Let's make some!" How could I say no? But even if you're not reading Little House in the Big Woods, this is a fun project to do with your kids. Here's how Wilder describes them:
"For breakfast there were pancakes, and Ma made a pancake man for each one of the children. Ma called each one in turn to bring her plate, and each could stand by the stove and watch, while with the spoonful of batter Ma put on the arms and the legs and the head. It was exciting to watch her turn the whole little man over, quickly and carefully, on a hot griddle."

To begin, make your favorite pancake batter. (I use this recipe.) Warm a skillet or griddle, greasing it first - just as with normal pancakes. Now pour the batter, making a fat little body first, then adding a head and limbs. Ma used a spoon to do this and so did I, but I will warn you to have a sense of humor about your little men. Some will look pretty silly. Some may not look like people at all. But that's all part of the fun; my kids have never laughed so much at the breakfast table.

If you have an old, clean squeeze bottle (that originally held, say, mustard or catsup), you can place the batter in that and probably have better control over your creation - be it a man, an animal, or some other object. But we wanted to do it just like Ma. It was a morning my kids won't soon forget!

Check out the Entire Little House series of Posts:

Little House in the Big Woods Activities
Pancake Men (from Little House in the Big Woods)
Little House on the Prairie Activities
Little House on the Prairie Birthday Party
On the Banks of Plum Creek Activities 
Little Town on the Prairie Activities
Activities for The First Four Years
These Happy Golden Years Activities 
Farmer Boy Activities


  1. Love this idea! We get airplane pancakes at the Starduster cafe all the time. Never thought of little men. I need to get those books to read with the kids. That would be so much fun.

  2. Tracy, I think it's great to read the Little House books to boys before they get silly ideas about them being "girl books." There's actually a ton for boys to enjoy and Pa is a fantastic character to learn from and look up to :)