Before the age of 1, babies know how to hold a bottle, cup and finger food. Toddlers can begin using cutlery, supporting fine-motor coordination. Encourage tamariki to recognise their body’s messages when they feel hungry, and when they feel full.
Why do it?
- This is the time when toddlers start wanting to do things for themselves.
- Toddlers are often keen to feed themselves.
- They’ll have the chance to practise using a spoon or a fork — a useful fine (small muscle) motor skill.
- They can make choices about what they eat and how much.
- Letting children decide how much to eat helps them learn what being full feels like.
How to do it
- Put an old sheet or some newspaper underneath where the child is eating to help protect the floor and make clean-up quicker.
- Have some food ready before sitting them down for their meal.
- Soft finger food is ideal for this activity.
- Decide how many pieces to offer them — start with 2 or 3.
- Take your cue from them about how much more to offer.
- If they’re eating food from a bowl, have a spoon for you and one for them, so they can watch you and practise.
- Select some foods that are good for eating with a little fork, (cooked vegetable or a firm banana) so they can practise this skill too.
Using more te reo Māori
|Te reo Māori
|Wā mō te kai
|Kei te hiakai koe?
|Are you hungry?
|He aha tō pirangi hei kai?
|What do you want to eat?
|Kei te pīrangi koe ki te parakuihi?
|Do you want some breakfast?
|He āporo māu?
|Do you want some apple?
|Māku e mahi ngā kai
|I'll make some food
|Anei. E kai
|Here you are. Eat up
|Huakina mai tō waha
|Open your mouth
|Tino reka tēnei kai
|This kai is delicious
|Ka nui tēnā
|He kai anō māu?
|Do you want more food?
|Blesing of food
|Nau mai e ngā hua o te wao, o te ngakīnga, o te wai tai, o te wai Māori
I welcome the gifts of food from the sacred forests, from the cultivated gardens, from the sea, from the fresh waters.
|Nā kai ō Tāne
|The food of Tāne
|Ko Ranginui e tū iho nei
I acknowledge Ranginui who is above me
|Ko Papatūānuku e takoto ake nei
|And Papatūānuku who lies beneath me
|Tūturu whakamaua kia tina; tina, haumi-e, hui-e, taiki e!
|Let this be my commitment to them all.