Because Johnny struggles with his fine motor skills, I am always looking for ways to help him strengthen them without making him feel like he is failing at or lacking the skill. Cooking or putting together food has been of big interest to him lately, so I let him take the lead. For this “Johnny prepared snack,” he chose to use tortillas and cheese. Simple enough, a cheese quesadilla, right? Eh, not really.
The first thing he did was cut up some cubed cheese. I allow them to use butter knives when they cut cheese, but he chose to use a smaller knife. This is ok. I tend to think that children typically use and do what is most comfortable for them, so him choosing to use a smaller knife meant it was naturally easier for him to use that over a larger butter knife. (Giving children the ability to make their own choices with things like this sometimes make the biggest differences in their learning moment.)
Johnny then decided ripping the tortilla was the next step to making the perfect snack. As hilarious as this step was to me, I love watching the kids learn through trial and error!
With a little more cheese to cut and some rearranging of the cheese on the tortilla, it was time to…
Roll the tortilla into a ball! I’m not quite sure what this step added, other than making it more fun, but all of these finger and hand movements continue to strengthen the muscles needed for fine motor development. So, roll away, Johnny, roll away!
As he entered the final stages of his snack making moment, he used a roller to flatten it. Not satisfied with the result of the roller, he turned to pushing it down with a plastic spoon. (As you can see, many utensils were used to make this perfect snack.) Once it was deemed perfect, he asked me to microwave it for 20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes. I gladly took this time to explain the difference between 20 minutes and 20 seconds and let him decide which one he thought would achieve his desired result.
About twenty minutes later, Johnny finished making his perfect snack. He used his hands to cut, roll, and squish and sharpened his fine motor skills a tad more by doing so. With more practice, doing things like this, and other activities, he will be well on his way to having this skill mastered.