I use mozzarella and a standard dinner knife to help Belle (age 2.25) learn to cut. The cheese is big enough to hold and soft enough that toddler levels of pressure can cut it. No sawing required, though she still draws the knife toward her. The knife’s minimal serration also can’t really hurt her if she runs it into her fingers.
I try to stand behind her and place one hand on the cheese and the other on the knife to give her a good grip and a sense of the pressure required, but she prefers to do it herself. I typically only get one opportunity to show, and the rest of the time I’m using verbal reminders like “hold the knife up and down” and “press down.” So we work on following directions!
Luckily, mozzarella doesn’t need to be perfectly sliced and diced to be usable in recipes, so we use the uneven results of Belle’s cutting in a few meals.
Recipes that work on this skill:
- pasta salad
Other skills worked on:
- following directions
- fine motor control
- fine motor strength (keeping the knife vertical, not letting it slip on the cheese)
- recognition of how to hold utensils (the sharp(er) side of the knife faces down)