As an Early Learning Coach, part of my job is to help educate parents and caregivers that learning is everywhere and easy to replicate at home using everyday objects, even food. As a mom, I am constantly infusing learning into our everyday activities from playing, running errands and even when we eat. My youngest is three and as soon as we started introducing solid food, like cereal, I also introduced how we can learn while we eat!
Here are some fun ways to engage with your child, teach basic math skills and just have some FUN with FROOT LOOPS:
Place and Count-
While putting cereal on the plate, model counting each piece as you put it down.
Eat and Count-
Count the cereal as you eat it!
Slide and Count-
Slide pieces of cereal from one side of the plate to the other and count as you slide.
Crunch and Count-
This lets your child build their fine motor skills while having a little fun with making a mess. Let them smash them or crunch them and count!
When counting, start small, “1, 2, 3!” and work up from there. Soon, your child will start to mimic the tone and cadence of your voice while counting and then you will start to hear the words too. When counting, always ask, “How Many?” This helps your child learn that the last number said when counting is the total or sum. You might even introduce the words MORE and LESS when comparing your piles of cereal after counting.
With colored cereals, you can also:
- Sort by color
- Make patterns (red, blue, red, blue, etc…)
- Make shapes, letters and numbers
For fine motor practice:
Make Cereal Towers-
Encourage your child to try and build or stack cereal into tall towers. This helps with fine motor skills by helping them to build their pincer grasp. Pincer grasp is the ability to be able to pick something up between your thumb and pointer finger! It is also a great way to encourage them to not give up and give them practice on being persistent!
If you have a pipe cleaner from some leftover crafting or some yarn, your child can make an edible bracelet or necklace. If using yarn, wrap a little tape on one and a knot on the other end so none of the cereal slips off. Your child will have so much fun making these. They can count them as they string them on, make patterns and even eat some while they work!
Truly, learning is everywhere and in everything. All of these activities can be done with any colored cereal. Don’t have colored cereal? It is not a problem, most of these activities can be done with any cereal or snacks. You can even use uncooked pasta noodles for lacing, or fruit snacks for sorting and patterning. The possibilities are endless! The most important part is YOU taking the time to implement the learning where you can with what you can, because brains are built not born! Always remember, YOU are your child’s FIRST and BEST teacher!