Mini Line for Mini Eaters
Toddlers can be more adventurous and independent at mealtime if given the right feeding tools. Setting your little ones up for success at meals can encourage them to try new foods, tolerate novel textures and stay at the table a little longer. Yes, please!
Mini Utensils: Learning to self-feed is an important developmental milestone, and the ezpz Mini Utensils are designed to help toddlers learn how to eat with a spoon (scooping) and fork (piercing). Some of the milestones these tools help toddlers with are:
- Able to bring spoon + fork to mouth (palm up): Mealtime with toddlers will still include the “raking motion” (when he/she brings foods to their mouth by using a raking motion with their hands), but your toddler may also want to use utensils. Bringing a spoon or fork to their mouth is a milestone that may be frustrating at first, especially if the utensils have a skinny handle or a deep spoon (or fork) bowl. That’s why I designed the Mini Spoon and Mini Fork to have a short, fat, round silicone handle which makes grasping and movements to the mouth more successful.
- Able to scoop food using a utensil: Once your toddler has mastered scooping with a spoon, it’s time to introduce a fork! Metal tines and sharp tips should be avoided when choosing a safe fork. You want a fork that is strong enough to spear, but not so strong that it could injure your child’s face, tongue, lip or tender gum line. That’s why we chose strong nylon for the head of our spoon + fork, as this improves a toddler’s scooping + piercing abilities in a safe way.
Mini Cup: Independent drinking from an open cup is a feeding milestone that supports oral and speech development, aids with teething, decreases tooth decay and helps your toddler develop a strong swallow. A few toddler milestones associated with open cup drinking are:
- Able to hold an open cup independently: You might be surprised when your little tot actively seeks out the sensory experience of holding the cup by themselves. To start, they may try to take the cup from you when you offer it, or they may try to grab it right off the table! The non-slip silicone grip and weighted base of the Mini Cup are key for improving a toddler’s fine motor grasp development for drinking.
- Able to drink from an open cup (with spillage): A 12-month old toddler should be able to drink from an open cup by themselves with a minimal amount of spillage. Watching your tot learn and explore drinking independence can be fun, but also slightly messy. Keep in mind that these swallowing skills (and mess) are part of the maturing process! To improve safety during drinking, use the Mini Cup. The Mini Cup has an interior angle that provides even flow, and that helps to keep your toddler in a safe drinking position!
Mini Mat: Tipped plates are the norm when toddlers are learning to self-feed. But we have good news! The Mini Mat, an all-in-one placemat + plate that suctions to the surface, is a game changer for flipped or tossed plates! The Mini Mat also helps with important milestones. Read below on how the Mini Mat can help your tot expand their eating abilities:
- Able to finger-feed soft foods: Learning to eat starts with finger feeding! Toddlers will discover and explore foods with their fingers first. The stable base of the Mini Mat promotes early self-feeding feeding skills as well as utensil use.
- Able to use a true pincer grasp: A toddler can practice a “pincer grasp” (using the tips of the index finger + thumb) by grabbing and holding foods that were placed in the smile compartment of the Mini Mat. Or, your toddler can dip foods into sauces or purees placed in the Mini Mat’s eyes!
We hope that you notice more independent eating at mealtime when using our Mini Line with your toddler. Be sure to download our FREE printable to track your little one’s milestones with these products! #ezpzfun
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).