If you’ve read my blog previously, you will know that I am quite keen on the principles of Montessori when it comes to enhancing little one’s life skills and encouraging confidence and independence. We have done a few Montessori life skills and activities in the past (tweezer transferring, peg dinosaurs and colander pipe cleaner threading), but it feels like aaages since we’ve had a go at something new: Enter, getting Freddie to prepare and chop his own fruit and veg for a snack for himself and Sasha. I personally think it’s great when children can start to do some basic life-skills by themselves, and I think you’re never too young to get involved with a bit of cooking and/or baking!
I went perusing the local kitchen shop for a peeler and a more toddler-friendly knife, and whilst I found the former, the lady in the shop was slightly horrified that I’d give my 3 year old a knife and didn’t have any suggestions (I OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t let him use it unsupervised!). In the end we just used a slightly serrated knife from one of his usual cutlery sets, and this actually did the job fine.
I was dead chuffed to be contacted recently by baby and toddler gift company, My First Years, and I knew I wanted to get my hands on this personalised chopping board from the moment I saw it! Freddie was delighted that he had his own board to go with his baking set, and thought it hilarious that he was “cutting onto the bunny’s face!”. I can verify that it doesn’t mark easily and washes well- something I’m always a bit dubious with when it comes to any wooden kitchen implement that needs washing and drying a lot. I’m definitely going to buy one for Sasha, otherwise she might feel a bit left out when the time comes for her to be getting busy in the kitchen!
Once Freddie was sat down, I let him choose which of the fruit and veg he wanted to get stuck into first. I then talked him through what he needed to do, before showing him how to hold and chop the banana, and how to hold and peel a bit of the carrot. I told him that as well as being used when eating dinner, knives are used for chopping and preparing food. I told him that we need to be careful with knives as they can be dangerous if not used safely.
He was pretty deft with peeling the carrot, and didn’t need much help or guidance with this. When it came to chopping the banana he needed a bit of help holding the knife in a ‘correct’ chopping grip, rather than stabbing it to death! I think this sort of fun activity is useful for F in particular, as he still struggles a little to hold a crayon or a pen ‘properly’, so in time his fine-motor skills should strengthen.
I was surprised at how careful he was when it came to cutting up the grapes, as I was a bit anxious that he avoid all finger-contact (!), but he was fine and actually very precise, plus was clearly proud that he had managed to cut them by himself.
All-in-all a success- and this little chap will definitely be called upon to help in the kitchen again soon!
Bunny chopping board c/o My First Years