Snack Time Learning for Ages 2-5
You can turn snack time into learning time with just a few things you probably have in your kitchen or can be inexpensively purchased at a dollar type store.
These activities can be done together or individually and they are endlessly adaptable to the development of your child.
Learning has never been so delicious!
Fruit flavored loop cereal
Tweezers, tongs, or chopsticks
Chenille stem or yarn
Activity #1 Sorting
Begin by placing one of each colored cereal loop into the individual cups of the muffin tin. Take turns with your child placing the colorful loops into the correct cup. Children can start this activity with just their fingers. Picking objects up using the thumb and pointer finger is called the pincer grasp. As your child develops, you can introduce a small pair of tongs or large tweezers. Using these tools offer some resistance and help develop the muscles that children need to hold a pencil and cut with scissors.
Activity #2 Patterns
Patterns are just an arrangement of things that repeat in a logical way, making what comes next predictable.
Begin by making a simple, 2 color, alternating pattern like red, blue, red, blue, red. Ask them what comes next. This is also called an A B pattern. If they struggle, support them by limiting their choices. For example, you might ask, “What comes next? Red or blue?”
As your child masters this skill, you can make it more challenging by using 3 colors (A B C) or using the colors more than once (A A B). For example, red, blue, green, red, blue, green, red, blue, etc. OR red, red, blue, red, red, blue, red, red, etc.
Soon your child will be creating patterns on their own and asking you what comes next.
Learning about patterns is a basic math skill that will help your child develop more advanced math concepts later.
Activity #3 Lacing
Using the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers, grasp a cereal loop and place it on the chenille stem. This is called the tripod grip. This activity strengthens the muscles that are used to hold a pencil. It also helps develop hand-eye coordination.
Continue lacing the cereal on to the stem until there is just enough stem to connect the ends to form a bracelet. Perfect for taking a snack to go.
Other ways to use tongs and tweezers for fine motor development:
Building with blocks
Picking up and putting away toys
Serving food at mealtime
Ohio Department of Education. (2020, March 9). Physical Well-Being and Motor Development. Ohio Department of Education Early Learning Standards. http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Early-Learning/Early-Learning-Content-Standards/Birth-Through-Pre_K-Learning-and-Development-Stand/ELDS-Physical-Well-being-and-Motor-Development.pdf.aspx