Alternative: hide the utensil somewhere around the area where you are seated. Make sure it is easy for your toddler to find.
MATCHING GAME (2 years to 3 years)
Bring out a bunch of your kitchen utensils and identical / matching plastic utensils, maybe from your child’s toy kitchen. Keep her and your utensils at a good distance of 3-6 feet. Pick one of your utensil and raise it in the air. Ask your child to find the same kind from her section as soon as possible. This game can be more fun if the child gets a chance to run around. To do so, you could place your child’s utensils in another room.
SETTING THE DINING TABLE – (3 years to 8 years)
Kids enjoy setting the table from an early age. Once they are engaged and understand that it is a way to participate in family chores and bond more closely, they want to do it more. Give them a chance every weekend to set the table under your supervision. If you are concerned about glassware, you may inform them that you will need to hold alongside or you may let them arrange one mat with plastic ware.
COOKING – (3 years to 10 years)
Involve children in cooking, small or big. It could be lemonade, chocolate shake, pasta, rice, or pancakes. Cooking teaches children several things:
- They have the power to create something that nurtures family members
- Promotes independence, creativity, and self-confidence
- Helps bond with either or both parents
- Develops skills in relevant areas
- Provides opportunity for self-exploration and fun
Children can also be mere helpers. My daughter would peel onions and garlic for me from age 2 years 7 months. Even if she did just 3 pods, she learnt a lot and enjoyed it thoroughly! Kids can also pretend to cook in their utensils within your kitchen area while you cook. This makes a good role model for their learning.
ART – (4 years – 8 years)
Use utensils to teach tracing. Place any utensil like bowl, spoon on a plain paper and have your child trace it. Tracing is a great skill in art and promotes co-ordination of fine and gross motor movements with the eye and brain. For older kids, you can have them do ‘object drawing’ – place an object in front of them and have them copy it on paper. You can also get craftsy e.g. tape a plastic spoon on paper and allow child to decorate it with pompoms, glitter, fuzzy sticks, stickers, etc.