Research shows that by 7 – 9 months a child can use all his fingers and thumb to grasp a small toy block. By 12 months the child can pass this object from one hand to the other and from 12 months on-wards the child attempts to use his index and thumb to pinch small items in order to lift them. This grip is known as the pincer grip and is used later on for tracing, colouring, writing, turning pages, beading, holding a cup and many more everyday necessities. Once a child is able to sit up by themselves in their highchair, begin to focus on these skills by involving them in the kitchen.
Babies are explorers and will love the different textures, shapes and colours. Wobblers will want to imitate and will start to use the language they hear. They will attempt to say names of items like cooker, sieve, stir, hot (it’s always a good one to start with!) Toddlers will want to see the end product and share it with friends and family. Always wanting to do a little more until they reach the stage where they want to try something all by themselves! I had this experience last week and so I put out ingredients onto the table for a very simple 3 step recipe and I sat down and watched the cookery show. There was picking up small items, stirring, spooning and eating in this recipe – all focusing on the pincer grip. The process went well and the chef said the end product tasted delicious!
Below is an idea for each stage mentioned above. I hope you will take the time to try them out and have some learning fun in the kitchen. As I am at the very early stages of building up my new blog I am planning to categorize all the recipes/ideas. Depending on what you want to focus on, whether it be pincer grip, language, confidence, independence or maths you should quickly find a task to complete and have something very tasty at the end. It’s all about having fun while learning! If you cannot find something or would like to make any suggestions drop me an email to email@example.com.
In their highchairs, babies can help pour & stir their milk into their cereal. When giving the milk to pour (in a safe container), only give the correct amount. That way there is no spillages and no failures for them. They are already on a winning streak! Of course it will be messy but that is all part of the learning curve.
At the table, continue with the pouring from above. When making simple recipes like pancakes transfer their skill by allowing your wobbler to pour in the milk. Again, only the correct amount of milk (as suggested with babies above). You can then introduce stirring with a whisk. At this point the fine motor skills required to do this is not yet refined and so the movements will be BIG!! Make sure to hold onto the bowl.
The independent, I can do it all myself mentality kicks in! And this is part of the growth of independence and confidence which has been enhanced throughout the earlier stages. In keeping with the pancake making, the toddler can pour, whisk and sieve in the flour. I am always cautious with raw eggs as I have a toddler with an allergy so the beating of the eggs I will leave to you yourself. I usually do the eggs myself.