To do: Involve your child in meal preparation. Practice chopping using the recipes below
Time: 15 minutes, repeat
Materials: Wavy cutter, butter knife, soft fruits and vegetables
Food preparation can be a communal time when families come together to speak about their day and share a meal. Even your youngest children can be a part of that, and we have ideas how.
As we get started, remember to observe your child, then plan activities around their interests. Work with the skills they already have, and slowly build upon them to foster confidence and mastery!
Prepare a kitchen space specifically for your child, and tell them that this is a special place for them to prepare food alongside you.
Kitchen skill: Chopping
Chopping food is pretty satisfying. It makes a nice noise on the cutting board, and it’s fun to create little pieces from a big piece. But letting our children do this? That sounds scary.
Of course, you need work within your comfort zone. If you’re ready to help you child with chopping skills, here are a few tips to gets started:
- Are you afraid your child may hurt themselves using chopping tools? Try work-arounds like an enclosed chopper where the blade is contained in glass. Pick foods that don’t need a sharp edge to chop, and use a butter knife or plastic cheese knife. Fruits like strawberries are good for this! Lastly, try something with a handle that fits both of their hands, like a wavy cutter, and instruct them how to hold it properly, never taking their hands off the handle.
- When observing your child playing, do they seem to be in a hurry with quick, imprecise movements? If so, prepare the chopping activity with “Chopping needs to be done very slowly and carefully. We’re not in a hurry! Watch how I do it first.”
- Is your child more detail oriented, getting even the tiniest details just so? They will feel satisfied if the chopping activity involved tiny pieces. Grab a soft fruit or vegetable that needs chopping, and show them exactly the size to make the pieces. This will require all of their concentration, and satisfy their developmental needs!
Recipe to practice cutting: Veggie Salad or Veggie Medley
Try making a simple Veggie Salad to practice chopping skills! Pick a handful of your favorite vegetable, and decide who will do what. Perhaps an adult can chop the harder veggies like carrots, while your child halves cherry tomatoes.
Raw Veggie Salad: Pick your favorite vegetables, chop them with your child, and add to a bowl with your favorite salad dressing or a dollop of cottage cheese and some seasoning. Super simple and great practice for chopping skills.
Steamed Veggie Medley: For your younger child, try steaming big heads of broccoli, cauliflower, and even green beans. Once they’ve cooled, let your child chop them. Since these veggies soften when steamed, it will be easier for your child! Throw them all in a big bowl, add salt, pepper, cheese, or whatever your favorite seasoning is for a great side dish.
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