One of the most beloved practical life experiences for young toddlers is transferring with a spoon. There is just something about this simple motion that is so satisfying to these little people. For adults, using a spoon is so common of a task we may not even realize how complicated it can be. A specific set of motions must be used to accomplish our task, and there is very little room for error.
Nora's true introduction to spooning, was at 6-months when she first started to eat solids. Following a a Montessori-method of weaning, she was given a spoon and fork with every meal. But, this is still a skill that she is refining. So, I still wanted to create a work for her to use away from meal times.
To make this work, I simply used a small amount of wild rice in a glass cup. I included a small glass appetizer spoon. A tiny wooden tray with higher sides. The tray is small and light enough for Nora to carry to a mat or table.
I choose to use food on this tray to make it a true extension of her meal times. I also only included a small amount of rice -- no more than you are willing to clean up! Also, Nora is still very oral, so with the rice, I don't have to worry as much if she puts it in her mouth.
If you want to introduce spooning to a toddler, I suggest to keep it very simple at first. Remember it is about the process not the product. After a quick presentation, I suggest letting your toddler explore the tray. Try to observe instead of reacting, especially if the toddler doesn't do it the same way you would.
If a spill is made -- and a spill will happen! -- I encourage Nora to pick up the rice. But, only AFTER she is done spooning. I try not to interrupt her even when mistakes are made. Concentration and respect is key. This also means you should try to avoid praise or help as your toddler works.
I know this can be hard. But, trust me. Repeat over and over -- process over product. Then, sit back and watch the joy of accomplishment!
Do your children enjoy spooning? What other practical life activities have you encouraged with your toddler?
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