Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A little chopping....and some yummy lunch!

I love these wavy choppers for toddlers and preschoolers! They are easy for them to hold, fit into their little hands, and are not too sharp. Additionally, who can't help but love the wavy food they produce!
I have gotten several of these to use in my classrooms over the years at goodwills, thriftstores, garage sales.....This particular one came from a kitchen store and was around $3. Some have handles, some don't. I prefer the ones with no handles.
An older 2 year-old and definitely a 3 year-old is typically ready to be taught to chop food.
*of course do the handwashing, apron wearing (if desired) first
*boost the child up to the counter in a safe manner or use their little table as a workspace
*supply a little cutting board and two bowls--one for scraps and one for good cut food. Always put the cut bowl at the top on the right side (anytime possible set it up so your child is moving from left to right, top to bottom when they do tasks as this reinforces the way reading print occurs).
*teach your child to chop off the stem and bottom first and put this into the scrap bowl. Also any "yucky" spots or anything that gets dropped on the ground.
*show your child how to safely use the utensil
*stand over your child as they work until you are VERY CONFIDENT they are safe and ready to go at it on their own.

Yummy Squash-
(when kids help with the preparation of different foods they are more likely to give them a try! Talk new foods up and get them excited about eating them!)

1) Chop yellow squash ends off.
2) Chop squash into circles about 1/4 inch thick (older children can use a small ruler to measure this!!)
(for little ones, you may do this step and let them begin at the next step...)
3) Quarter each circle and put into a microwave safe bowl with a lid
4) Add a little bit of water (2 T ish)
5) Sprinkle on some type of herbs--I have a vegetable herb mix I use. If you are at a loss, go with the words of Simon and Garfunkle.....parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme....Although I'd just stick with one. :)
6) Salt and pepper to your liking and give it a stir (children should be able to do all of these steps!!)
7)microwave (lightly covered) about 3 min and careful for the steam escaping.

SIDENOTE......these little spice shakers are FABULOUS for toddlers to practice shaking skills (which are necessary for using glitter and cooking spices). When you empty a jar, save it and fill it with something the child can shake into a cake pan and then you can put it into the shaker and the whole process can be repeated! I recommend very finely cut paper if you are doing this indoors. Outside dirt would be a fun medium! Teach your child how to sprinkle just a little at a time. Draw a line in chalk and see if he can cover your line. Can he draw a circle in sprinkles? Provide other challenges....
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