We visited my in-laws recently. Every morning when we were at their house, my mother-in-law took care of the two kids, plus make breakfast for the kids and my father-in-law, and somehow managed to complete a bunch of house chores all before I woke up. How did she do it?
She told me, “your kids need more activities, not toys.” Basically, she found simple things for my kids to do like peeling an egg that would preoccupy them long enough for her to finish what she needed to do.
When I got home, I was motivated to find fun, educational activities for my toddler to do. And I vow NOT to spend money on any of these activities unless I absolutely have to since most of them should only need common household items to do.
First up – let’s practice spooning skills! No, not the lying-in-bed-all-comfy type of spooning (argh I wish, oh sweet sleep…), but using the utensil to transfer food type of spooning.
Since we have carpet in our house and Zoe seems to have a great arm when it comes to chucking things, I am hesitant to hand her a spoon at mealtime and risk having stains on the carpet everywhere. However, it’s important for her to learn to self-feed. Thus, I came up with this activity to help practice the fine motor skill of spooning.
Pom Poms Transfer Activity
- Craft pom poms
- Muffin tin
- Empty container
- Put one pom pom in each of the muffin “spaces.”
- Give your child a spoon and show him or her how to use it to scoop up the pom poms and transfer it to the empty container.
- Let your child practice as many times as he/she wants!
- (Optional) See if your child can transfer the pom poms from empty container BACK into the muffin tin!
I just happen to have a bag of various-sized pom poms, and I thought that would actually give Zoe a chance to practice scooping tiny versus big objects.
At first, she kept trying to use her hand to pick up the pom poms or just banged on the muffin tin with the spoon. However, after I showed her what to do a couple of times, she understood that she needed to use the spoon to transfer the pom poms from the muffin tin to the empty container.
Since she didn’t have much experience using a spoon before, she had a lot of trouble getting the pom poms out of the muffin tin and keeping the spoon level so that the pom poms would stay on the spoon during the transfer. But that’s why this is a good activity – it’s repeatable until she masters the fine motor skill. We also tried scooping with different spoons to see which one was better for scooping.
After she moved all the pom poms from the muffin tin to the container, I thought that would be the end of the activity. Zoe had other ideas.
She started scooping the pom poms and transferring them back into the “spaces” in the muffin tin! What amazed me was that she seemed to understand only one pom pom was supposed to be in each muffin “space,” so if she dropped more than one pom pom into one “space,” she got upset and tried to scoop them back up. Moreover, she would switch hands depending on where the pom pom was in the muffin tin. I love watching her little mind think!
This was a great activity because it was mess-free, easy to set up, and also easy to clean up! I can imagine doing this almost every day to perfect her spooning skills. Once she is more comfortable using a spoon, I will let her practice more with real food during mealtime. For now, to my dog’s dismay, forks are definitely the cleaner way to go.
And there you have it! I hope your child enjoyed this activity as much as Zoe did!
What other activities have you tried with your baby to practice spooning skills?