I haven’t posted in quite a while and here’s my confession why…I only use my iphone for pictures and lately my phone’s USB connection hasn’t been working-thus I can’t upload new pictures for the blog
 🙁 Makes me sad because we’ve been so active with new activities and ideas that I’d LOVE to share, but my laziness of pulling out a real camera has made updating the blog difficult and frustrating.

But now I’ve got an idea…

I finally realized I can e-mail my pictures from my phone to my computer with no problem. So my boys are in bed, hubby is getting in some “box time” (that’s xbox time…) and I’m happily surfing my favorite mommy blogs and finally getting a new post ready to go 🙂 Oh happy days!

Now that I’m back in business, here’s one of the activities I’ve been offering Cannon as an invitation to play.

invitation to play: scoop and pour
* Various beans
* Container to hold the beans
* Scooping tool (we recycled a formula scooper from Little brother’s Enfamil Gentle Ease)
* A small cup to pour the beans into
The set-up:
Not much to it really. I just poured a few cups of beans into a small Tupperware, laid out the scooper and a small cup. I placed it all on a wooden tray because fallen beans are easier to gather off the tray…and because it looks pretty 🙂
Invitation to play: Scoop and Pour
The play:
I take this activity out just about every morning and Cannon has yet to get tired of it. We are practicing using a spoon at mealtimes and this activity leads right into that. As he scoops he’s learning he has to hold the bowl in place with one hand otherwise it moves around. Believe it or not, this does not come naturally to him- which is why we repeat this activity so often! This play leads to understanding of how to manipulate a scoop (a skill which imitates to using a spoon). 
When he starts getting frustrated scooping he goes right into picking individual beans up and placing them in the cup (great fine motor development!). When he is satisfied with his work he happily pours the beans back into the bowl and starts again.
My niece Scarlett spent the weekend with us and she loved helping Cannon scoop and pour the beans- and she’s 8 years old! It’s such a simple task but has great intrinsic reward as the activity engages many senses (visually discriminating the different types of beans, enjoying the sound of pouring beans, experiencing the weight of the scoop as it pours out the beans, feeling the individual beans rain through fingers into the cup). When Cannon was finished, Scarlett decided to arrange the beans into a mosaic picture! She continued to arrange and rearrange the beans for a long while before we moved on to other activities for the day.
A word of caution: This can get messy. Now your child may be very particular about keeping the beans where they belong…but my child loves to make it rain beans! That’s usually my clue that the activity is over for him and we clean up.
The mess is big, but the reward of watching him learn through play is bigger!
And I kind of feel like it’s a bonus activity for us because after the mess he practices cleaning up with me. He loves helping with the broom and dustpan!
So I’m interested- how did you start to teach your little one how to use a spoon? I’d love some more ideas on how to develop this skill with my 18 month old, don’t be shy 🙂 leave me a comment below and let’s discuss!