Ever since getting our Little Partners Learning Tower a few months ago, I’ve been trying to come up with fun new ways to keep my toddler engaged in the kitchen! I want her to grow up to be confident and competent in the kitchen and that means exposing her to cooking and baking now. I will give her little tasks to help me with while I cook and bake but that isn’t always safe or practical at her age, depending on what I might be cooking. That’s why I love simple tasks like fruit cutting that will not only help her become confident in the kitchen and to become a healthy eater but will help her to practice fine motor skills that will be necessary when she starts learning to write and cut.
Fine Motor Skill Practice for Toddlers
While learning to hold a pencil and write may a long way away, it is still important to help your toddler practice and develop their fine motor skills from a young age! Fine motor skills are required of us in so many ways everyday and if a child does not attain these skills they can have trouble completing everyday tasks. From buttoning and zipping their jacket to feeding themselves to playing with toys, your toddler will need to refine the muscles in their hands and develop hand-eye coordination to be able to do each of these things.
One thing that is really important to remember when it comes to helping your toddler with their fine motor skills is that right now, your child learns best through play. This means that when the activity is no longer fun for them, it is time to take a break and move on. The last thing we want to teach our toddler right now is that learning is hard and tedious. With very short attention spans we need to be aware that a child may only want to do a task for a short time, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t gain anything from it! Just try it again another day and remember to always keep it engaging and fun!
What You’ll Need
- A safe work space like a Little Partners Learning Tower
- Thin slices of fruit (watermelon, apples, other melons, and mango are fun choices!)
- Small cookie cutters in fun shapes
- A happy toddler!
It’s pretty simple! I just modeled how to use the cookie cutter to cut out a shape from the fruit for my daughter and then let her explore! She had so much fun learning how to make a shape cut out from the fruit and was so proud of herself when she was able to do it. Then of course they will want to taste the fruit and eat the fun shapes they cut out.
For the first time, I only gave my daughter one cookie cutter and slices of watermelon but you can mix it up however you’d like! You could let them cut out different shapes for a fruit salad! Once your child is a little older you could also get number or letter cookie cutters to help expose them to those concepts as well. Another way to extend the activity is to talk about the colors of the fruit and the different textures that they are. Talk about how each fruit tastes as well.
Don’t forget, just make sure your toddler is having fun! Not only do we want them to develop their fine motor skills, we want them to enjoy working in the kitchen and to become healthy, confident eaters as well!
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