Skip to main content

Introduction to Spooning for Montessori Toddlers

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. So, an introduction to spooning for Montessori toddlers can be very helpful. 

Montessori toddlers love practical activities and spooning is no exception. Introducing a practical tray for toddlers to work on this skill is a fun Montessori activity for toddlers.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

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. However, I should make it clear, that this type of practical introduction should be the main way that toddler are doing practical skills. These little trays come second, and should be used sparingly. 

Montessori toddlers love practical activities and spooning is no exception. Introducing a practical tray for toddlers to work on this skill is a fun Montessori activity for toddlers.

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 and practical 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?

If you like this post, check out: Introduction to Pouring; Mornings at the Weaning Table


Comments

Julie said…
I love your posts! How old was she here?
Unknown said…
Hi Nicole,

Can i ask you, what happen i gave my baby a bowl to spoon, something like pasta she was ended up turning the bowl and let the pasta spill and then she will chew the bowl.

It's challenging to get my baby to sit well and do Montessori activities at home.
Unknown said…
Lovely, simple activity! And just to chime into to Ricca's question above - I think your point, Nicole, here, pretty much sums it up: "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." - When we present these activities to young children, we can't expect them to react as if they were little adults - and we must remember that exploration can take many forms! You might give words for what your daughter is doing, immersing her deep in some nice language stimulation, and perhaps you might take your own tray and show her what YOU would do with the spoon! Even if she is not imitating you in that moment, she's watching, taking it all in, and learning (both from you, and also from what SHE'S doing!)

Thanks for a lovely post, as always!
Ayelet from Strength In Words

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…