We’ve been working with the Toddler 2 class on developing their fine motor skills by cooking! The children have been practicing cutting, spreading butter on sweet potatoes, and cooking carrots. Below is a video of the children working on these skills and developing their fine motor skills. It’s amazing to see their patience and concentration when wrapping thing fingers around a knife and carrot. It looks like some of us are ready for culinary school!
While preparing the food and cooking it, we talked about the name of the food, sounded the name out, what it smelled like, the taste, the colors, certain characteristics of the food, where it comes from (whether it grows in the ground or on trees), and if it was a fruit or vegetable.
Fine motor skills involve the small muscles in children’s bodies that enable functions like writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. Fine motor skills develop as the neurological system matures, however it’s an excellent way to determine the developmental age of a child because it requires awareness and planning to complete a task. By encouraging children to do tasks that require muscle strength, coordination, and sensation, they learn how to manipulate their fingers to acquire self-help skills such
as feeding and dressing, and other skills like writing, cutting, and manipulating buttons and snaps by being able to comfortably hold a pencil, scissors, and small objects too.
An influential study in 2011 showed that there is a direct relationship between a child’s fine motor skills in their early years and later academic success. It’s also been noted that young children learn best by being able to actively manipulate objects around them (sensory play), whether that’s through puzzles or paintings. Our goal at Little Wonders is to exercise and develop the children’s fine motor skills and practice cognitive skills that involve the use of fine motor skills. It’s been shown that children who have developed fine motor skills through daily exploration and manipulation of a wide variety of objects also possess the cognitive foundations necessary to build academic success. This type of foundation isn’t created by tracing the letter “A” over and over again, but by cutting carrots, finger-painting, peeling an orange and discussing and describing what’s happening during each step of the process. Moreover, according to the National Childcare Accreditation Council, fine motor skills form an important foundation for the acquisition of many other skills, including literacy, numeracy, self-help and the ability to perform many everyday tasks.