Mellow Mummy: Learning Through Play – Lara Wields A Knife : Taking life as it comes...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Learning Through Play – Lara Wields A Knife

Have you ever had one of those moments when you've taken your child to a friend's house and they've spent the entire visit playing with a single toy that you KNOW you are now going to have to buy, or the world will probably end? We had one of those moments a few weeks ago. Lara discovered a 'chopping' set while at her cousin's house. She was totally enthralled. Myself and Mr. B. locked eyes and at that moment I KNEW I was going to have to buy Lara the same toy.

I soon found the toy I was looking for online at Early Learning Centre and, at the earliest opportunity I visited our local branch and spent a whopping £13 on what is, quite honestly, my best investment to date!

The toy in question is a set of wooden vegetables & fruit, a wooden loaf of bread, a wooden chopping board, knife and tray. The toy is so simple and that's the beauty of it – no annoying plastic bits for Lara to rip off, no batteries required and no tinkly music. Fabulous. Each of the toy foods is stuck together with Velcro and the knife can be used to 'chop' them into pieces. Each wooden piece is sturdy and tactile – it feels like a toy that will last us for years.

And the best bit about the new toy is that Lara, at 21 months, is quite happy to sit for hours chopping vegetables. I've seen her sit for over 40 minutes chopping the fruit and veg, sticking them back together again and re-chopping!

I love this toy because it is helping Lara to learn about food preparation and goes some way towards my own new-year's resolution of teaching Lara to cook. Of course, Lara is far too young for me to teach her how to chop real carrots, pears, fish, tomatoes and oranges but she is old enough to start learning the lessons she will need to grasp sooner or later. In a few short weeks Lara has already demonstrated an understanding of balance – choosing to place her chopping board now on a table or chair instead of wobbling it on her leg or the arm of a chair. She also quickly learned that the knife is much more effective when held the correct way up and that applying pressure to the top of the knife can help when something seems too tough to chop.

Perhaps the best lesson she is learning is to be careful with her fingers. If Lara does accidentally place her fingers below the blade of the toy wooden knife, it won't hurt her but it does come as a surprise. Using her toy chopping board, Lara now tells herself to be “careful Lara” if she does get her fingers in the way.

Lara will be helping me prepare the dinner before long, just you wait and see!

This post was written for the Tots 100 Monthly Blog Hop where this month's theme is 'Learning Through Play'.
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