## Mealtime: Big/Little

Infants

### Content Area:

Algebra
Geometry
Numbers and Operations

Mealtime

## Mealtime: Big/Little

### Lesson plan for infants 0 to 6 months

#### Step 1: Review developmental stage: 0 to 6 months.

Play: Infants begin by using their eyes to explore toys and then begin to use their hands and mouths to explore. Their play is primarily shaking, banging and mouthing. At the end of this stage, they begin to look for dropped toys and may find a partially hidden object.

Communication: Young infants recognize their parents and familiar caregivers. They smile and laugh during playful interactions such as peek-a-boo. They make early cooing and babbling sounds.

Motor: When placed on their tummies, infants learn to hold up their heads and reach for toys. They begin to reach and grasp for objects, beginning with the caregivers’ clothes and hair and then moving on to toys and objects. At the end of this stage, many infants may help hold their own bottles and help bring the bottles to their mouths. They may also begin to take pureed food from a spoon.

#### Step 2: Gather materials.

• Bottle
• Doll baby bottle
• Two bibs (one BIG and one LITTLE)
• Two spoons  (one BIG and one LITTLE)
• Bowl with pureed fruits or vegetables

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Bottle-feeding

Show the infant two bibs: one LITTLE bib and one BIG bib. Encourage the infant to look from one to the other or reach for one or the other. When the infant looks at or reaches for one of the bibs, say: “(Child’s name), you picked the BIG bib” or “(Child’s name), you picked the LITTLE bib.” Place the chosen bib on the infant. Say: “You have on a BIG bib” or “You have on a LITTLE bib.”

Show the infant two bottles: the infant’s bottle and the doll bottle. Encourage the infant to look from one to the other. When the child looks at or reaches for his/her own bottle, say: “(Child’s name) has a BIG bottle.” Give the bottle to the infant. When the infant finishes the bottle, show the infant the empty BIG bottle and say: “(Child’s name) finished the BIG bottle.” Then show the infant the LITTLE bottle and say: “This is a LITTLE bottle.”

As you remove the bib from the infant, say: “Let’s take off the BIG bib” or “Let’s take off the LITTLE bib,” depending on which bib the infant is wearing. Show the infant the BIG bib and say: “This is a BIG bib.” Then show the infant the LITTLE bib and say: “This is a LITTLE bib.”

Spoon- feedingShow the infant the BIG spoon and the LITTLE spoon. Encourage the infant to look from one to the other or reach for one or the other. As you show the infant the LITTLE spoon, say: “(Child’s name) eats with a LITTLE spoon.” As you show the infant the BIG spoon, say: “(Your name) eats with a BIG spoon.” As you feed the infant, repeat: “(Child’s name) eats with a LITTLE spoon.”  When the infant looks at the spoon and opens her mouth, give her a spoonful of food. Every few bites, bring the BIG spoon toward your own mouth and say: “(Your name) eats with a BIG spoon.”

## Mealtime: Big/Little

### Lesson plan for infants 6 to 12 months

#### Step 1: Review developmental stage: 6 to 12 months.

Play: At the beginning of this stage, play is mostly shaking, banging and mouthing toys. By the end of this stage, infants begin to combine objects that go together in play. They reach for and hold two objects and may begin to reach for a third. Many infants will look for dropped toys and find partially and completely hidden toys. Many infants enjoy taking objects out of containers and putting them back in.

Communication: At this age, infants respond when their names are called. They may turn their heads, make eye contact and sometimes smile and vocalize. They may look for family members and pets when called by name. They may respond to simple requests made with gestures, such as: “Come here.” They may understand “No” or “Stop.” They may lift their arms to be picked up, clap hands and wave bye-bye. They love to shout and squeal and may be babbling with many different sounds. They may be participating in and sometimes initiating peek-a-boo.

Motor: During this stage, many infants begin to sit by themselves and play. They begin to move by rolling, crawling and cruising. They pick up toys by using a raking motion with their whole hand and, by the end of this stage, they are using their fingers and thumbs to pick up small objects. They may feed themselves small bits of food.

#### Step 2: Gather materials.

• Two spoons  (one BIG and one LITTLE)
• LITTLE bowl with mashed fruits or vegetables
• BIG bowl with a snack for yourself

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Spoon-feeding: Show the infant the BIG spoon and the LITTLE spoon. Encourage the infant to reach for one or the other. Depending on which spoon the infant chooses, say: “(Child’s name) has the LITTLE spoon” or “(Child’s name) has the BIG spoon.” Allow the infant to play with the spoon for a minute or two. Then hold out your hand and say: “Give (your name) the BIG spoon or LITTLE spoon” depending on which spoon the infant chose to play with for a minute. Show the infant the LITTLE spoon and the LITTLE bowl and say: “(Child’s name) eats with a LITTLE spoon and a LITTLE bowl.” As you show the infant the BIG spoon and the BIG bowl, say: “(Your name) eats with a BIG spoon and a BIG bowl.” As you feed the infant, repeat: “(Child’s name) eats with a LITTLE spoon and a LITTLE bowl.” Every few bites, feed yourself from the BIG spoon and the BIG bowl and say: “(Your name) eats with a BIG spoon and a BIG bowl.”

## Mealtime: Big/Little

### Lesson plan for infants 12 to 18 months

#### Step 1: Review developmental stage: 12 to 18 months.

Play: At the beginning of this stage, many infants are imitating the use of everyday objects such as cups and spoons. This moves into early pretend play, when the infant may feed you or pretend to drink from a cup or eat off of an empty spoon. They also are great imitators and may enjoy imitating daily activities. They may enjoy putting multiple objects into containers and systematically searching for hidden toys and objects. Many infants will pat pictures in books and sometimes vocalize while looking at books.

Communication: At the beginning of this stage, many infants begin to respond to one-step directions such as: “Give me the ball.” They may need gestures to help them understand the direction. At the end of this stage, many infants follow a related two-step direction without the help of gestures, such as: “Get the ball and give it to Daddy.” They may be pointing to ask for wants and needs and to ask you to name objects. At around 12 months of age, many infants say one to three words on their own and, by the end of this stage, may say up to 15 words or more. Many infants play turn-taking games at this stage.

Motor: At the beginning of this stage, many infants are crawling and cruising to get around and, by the end of this stage, infants are walking with good balance. They may also enjoy walking while carrying large objects and pulling toys. When given a crayon for the first time, they may mouth the crayon or mark the paper. By the end of this stage, many infants are scribbling on paper. They may be starting to scoop food with a spoon and actually get some to their mouths. Infants may also be using a straw or an open cup to drink.

#### Step 2: Gather materials.

• Two spoons  (one BIG and one LITTLE)
• LITTLE bowl with mashed fruits or vegetables
• BIG bowl with a snack for yourself
• LITTLE crackers
• BIG crackers

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Spoon- feeding: Show the infant the BIG spoon and the LITTLE spoon. Encourage the infant to reach for one or the other. Depending on which spoon the infant chooses, say: “(Child’s name) has the LITTLE spoon” or “(Child’s name) has the BIG spoon.” Allow the infant to play with the spoon for a minute or two. Then hold out your hand and say: “Give (your name) the BIG or LITTLE spoon,” depending on which spoon the infant chose to play with for a minute. Show the infant the LITTLE spoon and the LITTLE bowl and say: “(Child’s name) eats with a LITTLE spoon and a LITTLE bowl.” As you show the infant the BIG spoon and the BIG bowl, say: “(Your name) eats with a BIG spoon and a BIG bowl.” Allow the infant to practice spoon-feeding himself/herself and repeat: “(Child’s name) eats with a LITTLE spoon and a LITTLE bowl.” As you eat from the BIG spoon and the BIG bowl, say: “(Your name) eats with a BIG spoon and a BIG bowl.”

Finger FoodsPlace a few BIG and LITTLE crackers on the infant’s tray. Allow the infant to begin finger-feeding. Pick up a BIG cracker and a LITTLE cracker and ask: “(Child’s name), do you want a BIG cracker or a LITTLE cracker?” Allow the infant to choose. If the infant chooses the BIG cracker from the tray, say: “(Child’s name) is eating a BIG cracker.” If the infant chooses the LITTLE cracker, say: “(Child’s name) is eating a LITTLE cracker.” Continue to allow the infant to feed himself/herself, saying “BIG cracker” or “LITTLE cracker,” depending on which one the infant picks up and eats.

#### Reflections on this lesson

How might you teach the math lesson LITTLE and BIG during other daily activities and routines?

What books do you have in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of LITTLE and BIG?

What songs or finger plays do you typically use in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of LITTLE and BIG?