The Magic of… Spoons

An Introduction to the Series

Welcome to a new series on the blog: The Magic of… where we explore the magic of common everyday objects. We will explore how they are used in everyday life, when do children encounter them? Then take a quick tour through the history of whatever our wonderful object of the week is! And lastly, we consider the all important question of how can this object be used for play and learning? We hope you are as excited as we are to take an adventure to explore the magic of things!

The Magic of Spoons 

It is safe to say that I am obsessed with spoons! With a collection of over 100, I regularly use my spoons in my teaching and activities. But what makes spoons so magical?

We first encounter spoons at a very young age, often when being fed by a caregiver. Then as we become curious and inquisitive we may take the spoons for ourselves, often not necessarily using them for their intended purpose! Flicking, smushing, swirling and throwing our food around, it can create quite the mess! And what a joy it can be creating this mess while our children explore an activity that we do multiple times every day. However, it may be preferable sometimes to move this mess from the dining table and meal time to playtime. Spoons don’t only have to be used for eating after all…

A little bit of history…

We use spoons almost every day, but have we ever stopped to think more about where they come from? Spoons have been documented to be used since 1000BC in Egypt! It is thought that humans used spoons even earlier, perhaps from natural resources that didn’t require crafting, such as seashells or hollow pieces of wood. One thing is for sure: spoons are a natural and intuitive tool for us to use, whether it was a caveman or an Egyptian prince they have been used for centuries!

So why are spoons such a great object for learning and play? Well firstly there are so many variations, just look at some of the pictures of our spoons! Different materials, colours, handles, shapes and sizes: there are so many things to explore. What we may think of as an uninteresting everyday object can create so many interesting stories for us to explore with our children. Who uses the particular spoon you have: is it an astronaut? What does he eat in space? Does he share his food with the aliens? Or maybe they have their own spoons! What would those look like? Maybe a different spoon is not used for eating, maybe it’s a magic wand in disguise! Maybe another is a tool for scooping sand at the bottom of the sea and it belongs to a mermaid! 

Here’s some wee suggestions for activities: 

Use the story of goldilocks and the three bears alongside the spoons you have: If Daddy Bear was making soap which spoon would he use to share it from the pot? Perhaps he would use a ladle… is that a spoon too? And what about putting sugar in Mummy Bear’s tea? What if she used Daddy’s ladle… oh my what would happen to her teeth!? Baby bear might want to plant some tiny little seeds in the garden, which spoon could he use to carry them carefully to the mud? There are so many stories where a spoon could be a useful tool!

Another idea is to play the spoon and ball race!! Place a range of spoons beside a variety of balls of different sizes. Suggest to the children to pair them up and then try to carry the balls carefully to the other side of the room and back. What an active way to engage with the spoons!

Where can you find such spectacular spoons? Try having a rummage around your local charity or antique shops or even your grannies’ cupboards! Or perhaps you could jazz up a few of your worse for wear cutlery you already have… Whatever your ideas are we love to hear about them! Tag us on instagram @adventureswithalices