I've been trying to get Madison to use her fork/spoon a lot more instead of using her hands to eat everything, including cereal with milk (yeah, not fun)!
It's one of those things that definitely takes a bit of time, patience and coordination on the child's part in order to get the food from their plate to their mouth successfully with a lot of cleanup on the parent's end! So I figured why not try an activity that just might make it easier for all of us.
What we Used:
- Blanket (for easy cleanup)
- Large Glass Bowl
- Mason Jar
- Elbow Pasta (uncooked).
- Measuring cups (1 Tbs, 1/2 Cup, 1 Cup)
- I placed a blanket on the floor, in what I now call our learning area.
- I filled a large glass bowl with the dry pasta (I used glass so that she could clearly see what she was working with; however, any type of bowl will do the trick).
- First, I simply placed my hand in the pasta and felt it, picked it up, scooped it with my hands, sprinkled some onto the blanket then into a glass mason jar. Madison did the same.
- Then I took the tablespoon measuring utensil and showed her how to scoop the pasta from the bowl into different things (i.e. the blanket, the measuring cups, the mason jar).
- We also spent time doing this while using the different size measuring cups as the scoops.
- We also spent time pouring the pasta back into the large bowl from the mason jar.
- Lastly, I made sure to count aloud every time she placed a scoop of the pasta into a container.
What she Learned:
- Tactile and Auditory Stimulation - The feel of the pasta on her hands and the sound of the pasta as it hits the glass jar or swishes around in the bowl.
- Hand-eye coordination and Daily life skills - How to scoop things up with a small utensil and transfer it from one area to another.
Side Note (Video) - W-sitting: You'll see that Maddie is sitting in the "W" position throughout the video which is why I told her to fix her legs by the end of it. It was the only "issue" her physical therapist felt I should be aware of during her Early Intervention Evaluation and she's quickly picked up on correcting it when asked to "fix your legs".
I figured Maddie would enjoy this activity because it's a lot similar to the water play - pouring activity that we do. I also expected her to try to eat the pasta, which she did more than once, and I actually let her put it in her mouth (while explaining that she shouldn't eat it). She discovered on her own that it wasn't worth eating and after giving it a second taste I haven't seen her attempt it again (and we've played with this pasta several times this week).
I also didn't expect her to care about the counting that I was doing but I like to do a few things above her level to further challenge her mind. Eventually we'll discuss how many tablespoons it takes to make 1/2 cup. 1 cup, etc., so I felt like counting sort of preps us for things to come. I also mentioned this for those who have slightly older children but wanted to give this activity a try! And for variety, if you're brave, try using water instead of pasta (preferably outside)!
I honestly feel like she's definitely getting better with using her spoon since we've been doing this activity so it's worth a try if that's something you're working on with your toddler. But please note that the spoon had already been introduced prior to starting this activity, I've simply used this to reinforce its use.
I'm telling you, it's incredibly amazing how you can turn the simplest things into a learning experience for a toddler. Can you think of something simply like this to do with a child that will teach them something important?