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practical life skills: cutting fruit with knife

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The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.   Maria Montessori

Lately, I have been giving my son his little knife with his meal.  I feel bad that he had to ask for it so many times.  I use one, after all, at every meal, so why shouldn’t he?  He watches me scoop my food onto my fork with it and tries to imitate me.  He has also gotten very excited about cutting his own food, too.  For this summer of fruit, he is cutting his fruit every night at the table with his little knife.


John has helped me cut our food for food preparation before.  Bananas, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries.  He is always up at the counter with me.

I have always given him this little “kids” butter knife.  But How We Montessori has inspired me to buy an actual knife for him to use for these times.  His butter knife really doesn’t cut very well, and I am glad that my eyes are opening to his capabilities and that, if given the opportunity, he can excel with this life skill.  I don’t know how he would have done with an actual knife at an earlier age, John is very high-spirited and I don’t know if I would have felt comfortable (Kylie at How We Montessori supervised her son using a knife at 17 months old), but we are trying now.

I must emphasize that this is a supervised activity and children should never be left alone to “play with knives”!!

I bought a “cheese” plastic knife from Progressive and this “crinkle cutter” vegetable knife as well as a couple that Kylie recommends from Montessori Services: I plan on getting the Vegetable Chopper with wooden handle, Blunt-Tipped Serrated Knife, and the Slice & Spread Knife — I made an order for John’s upcoming third birthday!  We already have several small cutting boards for practice.

To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which  will enable him to develop freely.   Maria Montessori


That is his smile (above).  He is so proud of himself — even though this little knife is so blunt that he keeps cutting it — “sawing it” — like Papa Bear from the Berenstain Bears (have I mentioned how much I love these books and the equally wholesome dvds?)– back and forth.  I am teaching him to put weight on the knife to cut in one “slice” — but he was enjoying exploring.

I think the below picture shows very fine patience and knife placement for his sweet, precious, capable hands.  He can do it.  I just have to give him the opportunity!


The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.   Maria Montessori





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  1. That sweet look on his face says it all! My 5 year old loves to help with cutting and I usually let him as long as I am watching, but I still am too afraid to let my 2 year old cut. Your tips are great though and I might be ready to take the plunge.

    1. You should read that post from How We Montessori — the younger they start the more teachable they are :) Thanks, Kirstylee!

  2. He looks like he is having a blast!

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

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