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Montessori Practical Life - Slicers at 13-14 months!!

Slicing at 13 months  Montessori Practical Life at How we Montessori

I spend so much time in the kitchen I am always looking for ideas to entertain and engage Otto. Our Fun Pod has been a life-saver as it allows Otto to safely work along-side me at the kitchen bench. If he doesn't have something interesting to do he will start grabbing, reaching for things and throwing them on the floor. What I have found most useful is have him prepare his own snack or help me with what I'm doing. I've written a more thorough list here of practical life activities at 12 months, but what I find we do the most is cutting and slicing! 

While I am cutting up vegetables Otto can spend the entire time slicing mushrooms and putting them in a little bowl or cutting up and then eating strawberries. He is left feeling fufilled (and full) and I have the time I need to prepare dinner in a relaxed and calm way. 

Why use a slicer:

  • allows for regular and frequent practice of practical life skills.
  • fantastic use of fine motor skills.
  • meaningful - the child is either preparing their own snack or food for others.
  • it is real work - I know children love cutting and this is preferred over felt or wooden pretend food.
  • it expands vocabulary - without even realising it I have been teaching Otto the names of many fruits and vegetables I wouldn't have otherwise. 
  • can expand tastes, likes and, knowledge of foods.
  • it can be collaborative - working together, you cut the mushrooms and I'll cut the carrot, then it all goes into the pot together .
  • practice makes perfect - the more the child does it the better they become at it and the less mess they make.

Foods we use with a strawberry and egg slicer:

  • mushrooms - small mushrooms work best at this age, with larger mushrooms Otto needs help. 
  • strawberries - I cut the leaves off first.
  • avocado - sliced perfect for putting on toast.
  • boiled egg - for snack or sandwiches
  • fresh Mozzarella - in small balls, perfect for pizza.
  • peeled kiwi fruit
  • cucumber - slices for putting in a salad, easier to slice when peeled.

Foods we use with a small knife:

  • banana
  • soft cheese - soft cheddar, fetta, goats cheese
  • tofu  

Strawberry slicer at 13 months at How we Montessori

Often when Otto (13 months) is cutting with his small knife, he doesn't know when to stop and can cut things until they go mushy. He is able to cut with a small knife but isn't ready to use a crinkle cutter. I put a little piece of non-slip rubber under his chopping board and tray so they don't move while he is using them. The little white tray helps to contain the food/mess. The strawberry slicer (and mushroom slicers) are sharp if you don't feel comfortable them using them try an egg slicer. Supervision is always required. 

My age recommendations are approximate. If your child isn't interested or isn't engaged in the same activities, put it away and try again later or look for more personally relevant activities for the child.

Slicers at How we Montessori

Strawberry Slicer / Banana Slicer / Egg Slicer / Mushroom Slicer

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