When lil N was almost 18 months old we wanted to introduce him to knife and hone his knife skills.But unfortunately my search for toddler Knife fetched no results online.I tried few stores here is oman but never got what I was looking for.So I started with the plastic knife which comes with every cooker in our Indian household.
In case you are wondering what was the hurry and why on this earth do I want my toddler to learn knife skills at such a young age.Give this whole article a sound read, many will not agree many would be convinced but the idea of writing this particular article is to educate my reader on early life skills.
Why Knife at Such a young age ?
Knife skills is one of the practical life skills of montessori approach and is recommended after 18 months only when babies develop a better fine motor skills and a better control over the movement of their body parts.
A toddler is inquisitive and developing many life skills at this stage.Observe a toddler in a pretend play and you will get to know how their observation skill works.You will be surprised to see how they copy you and observe your movement and activities.
Preparing your own food is a basic life skill and to raise an Independent individual which is the primary aim of montessori, introducing a toddler to knife early helps rather than making them realise that they are incapable of doing it.
Just like introducing the glassware to toddlers makes them aware of the fact that it needs to be handled gently and with care similarly introducing knife makes them aware of the fact that it needs caution.
How to start with Knife
12-18 months– A butter knife or a plastic cake knife (which I was using and still use).
It will give them a better control and coordination to cut things.You can start with pretend play sets like the pic below as well.
If you choose a butter /plastic knife start with soft fruits like banana, ripe papaya, watermelon ensure that you peel and give it to them for cutting.
18 months plus – A toddler knife like the one shown in the pic below
As I have already mentioned I was searching for a knife but couldn’t find anything fortunately I came across a reviewer requirement by Little Fingers At Work while I was in India,wherein they wanted moms to review their toddler knife and send across honest feedback to them.
Its been almost a month we have been using this knife almost every other day to make fruit salad.N shows a lot of interest in kitchen and he eats his fruit salad with more delight and satisfaction.
How to use it
Start with keeping the cutting board at one side to make them learn that chopping needs only one hand till the time they get a control over the knife.
Give soft fruits like banana, pears; food like paneer,eggs which they can comfortably chop with one hand.
The knife is blunt enough not to hurt those little fingers but you know toddlers they go a little bit extra with chopping and you would want them to hit the knife on the other hand hence a conscious effort of using one hand only.
Once they are used to the fact of chopping with one hand give them the chopping board while they are with you in the kitchen in front like you do cutting or on the high chair.
Once they are old enough to understand how to cut and not chop give them fruits like banana to teach them how to hold and cut.Like give them a banana hold it at one end and start cutting from the other end.(we have not reached this stage and hence will be updating more once we start doing it )
The next progression could be a nylon knife or a wavy chopper with handle like the real knife we use.These knifes are little sharper and can cut harder fruits and vegetables also.And should be introduced once the toddler has learnt to hold and cut cautiously.(We are yet to reach this stage and hence more updates or a detailed blog post will be posted once we hone these skills and progress.)
About Little Fingers at work Toddler Knife
A blunt steel sheet with a wooden grip handle.
Blunt enough for young toddlers
wooden grip handle gives a better grip and control.
Good for chopping soft food items.
An excellent knife to start with knife skills.
The edges are pointed, which may require extra caution if the toddler doesn’t have a good control.This is the only drawback with this knife.And as the knife was sent across for feedback for improvement I conveyed the same to the team and it has been noted by them.
Cooking or helping in the kitchen not only helps the toddler to become independent but also gives them a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment which they strive for.And introducing knife skills makes them more confident and cautious.
Some points to keep in mind while introducing knife to toddlers
Adult supervision is a must
Keep the knife out of reach of toddler
Test yourself first by cutting the fruit you offer child to cut.This will give you an idea if child can cut it comfortably.