Advancing from the Mini Utensils to the Happy Utensils
By Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Did you know that at 2 years of age you can introduce a training knife to your toddler? Around that timeframe your tot is also ready for a larger spoon bowl and sharper tined fork. But does your child have the fine motor and oral motor skills needed for these utensils? See if your little one is ready to move on to their next feeding milestone with these expert tips!
Spoon + Fork Developmental Age: ezpz is the only feeding brand on the market that designs utensils specifically for your child’s age and stage of development. Is your child older than 24 months of age?
If your answer is yes, then developmentally your toddler may be ready for the larger sized Happy Spoon + Fork. These utensils are the perfect size for older toddlers and preschoolers.
- The feeding milestone for this age is that your toddler should be able to bring a spoon / fork to their mouth with their palm up by 24 months. The Happy Spoon and Happy Fork are slightly weighted to help make these movements to the mouth more successful. And they have a strong nylon head for easy scooping and piercing.
If your answer is no, then your young toddler can benefit from the smaller sized Mini Utensils.
- The feeding milestone for this age group is that around 15 months of age a young toddler should scoop food with a spoon palm down and bring it to their mouth independently. Once your toddler is successful with fine motor movements of spoon scooping with the Mini Spoon, then introduce the Mini Fork.
- Both the Mini Utensils and the more advanced Happy Utensils have silicone bumps and a raised rim that provide sensory awareness to help with the oral motor skills needed for lip closure and jaw placement. This design consistency will help your toddler transition from the smaller Mini Utensils to the larger Happy Utensils quickly and skillfully.
Training Knife Developmental Age: It’s important to teach older toddlers and preschoolers to safely use a training knife. Once your toddler is proficient with piercing food using a fork, they are ready to learn how to cut soft foods and spread creamy purees. Is your child using a fork successfully?
- If your answer is yes, then you can start practicing cutting skills with the Happy Training Knife. The nylon head is strong enough to practice spreading and cutting, but safe enough where slip-ups won't cause boo boos! I like to start with larger sized soft foods your toddler can easily hold onto while cutting, such as bananas, canned green beans, cheese and rolled up lunch meat.
- You can use the Happy Training Knife to teach spreading skills too! The ergonomically appropriate handle of the training knife makes spreading more successful. In addition, it accommodates right and left-handed children. I like to practice this new activity by using peanut butter on celery sticks, hummus on pita bread, pizza sauce on English muffins, butter on toast, or jelly on crackers.
- If your answer is no, then your toddler can benefit from practicing with the smaller, rounder tines of the Mini Fork. From there, they can advance to the Happy Fork and then the Training Knife. Show your little one how to pierce food by demonstrating it, and then allowing them to put the fork into their own mouth. You may have to preload the fork several times while introducing this new skill.
Advancing from the Mini Utensils to the Happy Utensils takes repetition and reinforcement. So, be sure to have some yummy foods for your toddler to practice scooping, piercing. cutting and spreading. Tag us in your toddler’s utensil adventures by using our hashtag #ezpzfun.
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Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).