Liam is always interested in trying out practical life skills types of activities, so I incorporated this one into our snack time. I had bought this cool wooden nut cracker some time ago but realized that it was just a bit to hard for him at the time. He still needed some assistance with the a couple of the turns but was very excited to take it back from me and do it himself. Here’s his tray.
I gave him two bowls on a tray. One full of nuts and the other empty for the nut shells. This helped him keep the area moderately clean around him. I always try to teach him how it is important to keep the area clean and to clean up after himself. I find it is much easier to concentrate when the area is free of mess. Just as learning how to use the nut cracker is a practical life skill so is cleaning up and staying neat!
We initially started with walnuts but there shells are much harder and I needed to do most of the turning, but we still did a few together before I set him up to work more independently with the peanuts. Some peanuts got overly mashed since the cracker is intended for harder nuts, but he didn’t care so much and would just grab another peanut and start over. What great exercise for those little hands!
He got the process down immediately, put the peanut in, turn the knob and eat! I bet he plowed through a good portion of a huge back. The process was certainly enjoyed as much as the end result, eating the peanuts! This activity kept him busy for quite a while. Clearly, he loves food related activities too! We enjoyed sitting with each other, having a snack and at times working together.
Practical life skills are a great, sneaky way to work on fine motor skills. I think he feels like a very big boy when I bring out kitchen things for him to use. Often this type of “play” will last longer and prove to be more effective of a learning tool!