Fine motor and speech skills are essential in learning and growing. So, why not incorporate these life-skills into fun activities? Learning and practicing these skills at an early age can benefit your child’s growth academically, socially, and personally. We talked to occupational therapist Jenna Zansler about how much developmental practice can come from following one simple banana pudding recipe.
Click the Steps Below
- 2 boxes (3.4 oz each) vanilla instant pudding
- 3 cups milk
- 1 (8 oz) tub whipped topping
- 8 oz sour cream
- 1 box vanilla wafers
- bananas (4 to 6)
Pour pudding packets and milk into a container and mix until thick.
Pouring helps your child work on their visual motor skills while also working on fine motor skills by using hand-eye coordination to find where the bowl is to pour in the pudding mix and milk and grasping the bowl, packages of pudding and the milk.
Scoop in sour cream and whipped topping to the pudding mixture and mix well.
Scooping and mixing things also works on the fine motor movement of the whole arm, grasping the containers to scoop or mix and developing muscle memory of different weights and how they interact with gravity. In this step, you can also work on speech skills through giving instructions on how fast or slow to stir, following directions of which comes first and which comes next, or working on prepositions to demonstrate where the ingredients are.
Place layers of vanilla wafers, pudding mixture and sliced bananas in serving dish, repeating the layers as needed to fill the dish.
This is the step where we get to bring in “slicing”! Make sure that your child is using something dull, like a butter knife. This allows your child to use their little hands to control the knife, while preparing them to master other skills like holding a pencil and tying their shoes in the future. Work in speech practice by discussing where to place the layers of vanilla wafers, the mixture and sliced bananas.
Refrigerate the Banana Pudding and wait at least several hours (or overnight) before scooping your serving.
Here, you can help your child place the dish in the refrigerator, find a movie to watch until it’s time for them to SCOOP! This is another area where hand-eye coordination, grasping and following instructions can all be used together before it’s time to dig in!