How cooking is beneficial for fine motor skill development
Discover the developmental benefits that children experience from making Stephanie Alexander’s Cauliflower Fritters with Mint Yoghurt.
Check out more of Stephanie Alexander's recipes here - https://www.stephaniealexander.com.au/what-to-cook/recipes/
Fine motor skills is a term used to describe small and coordinated movements for activities such as handwriting, doing up buttons, opening food packets, tying up shoe laces, building small blocks, eating with a spoon, folding paper, and many more.
Children develop and practice their fine motor skills through gardening and cooking when they use small hand movements such as tearing lettuce, sprinkling herbs, digging holes, ripping celery, etc.
During this fritter recipe children experience the sensory stimulation and movement practice that their hands, wrists, and fingers need for handwriting and scissor use at school.
Children develop a skill called bilateral coordination when using both hands to combine the ingredients together. We need bilateral coordination to be able to hold our writing book still as we write, as well as keep our bag stable while we undo or do up the zip. Bilateral coordination involves both hands working together with one hand completing one type of action, and the other hand completing a different action.
Children also develop the skill of a pincer grip action by encouraging the first two fingers and thumb to work together to pick up and put down the small fritter. The smaller the fritter the more inclined children will be to use the preferred pincer grip action. Pincer grip is needed for holding a pencil as this pencil grip places the least amount of stress on the child’s fingers, hand, and wrist.
Another important motor skill used in cooking is spatial awareness (specifically proprioception) during. When preparing the fritters children need to develop spatial awareness with their hands as this skill teaches their brain and body about how far away their fingers are from their wrists, how to position their hand to hold a pencil versus a cup, and how much pressure to apply with their fingers when holding a collapsible plastic cup versus Grandma’s precious china mug.
By rolling the fritters around in the hand, the pressure from the fritter is teaching the child’s brain and body about where their hands are positioned in relation to their body, as well as in relation to the fritter, and the overall environment.
The more children practice cooking fritters, the better their hands will be able to work together as a team (bilateral coordination), write or draw with a pencil (pincer grip), and apply appropriate amounts of pressure to different objects (spatial awareness).