I have an old nutcracker – I think it came from my grandmother.  Every fall I put it out as a center choice.  I first check to be sure there are no nut allergies and make all the necessary precautions.  (With some children – it is not possible to even have the nutcracker out.)  If all is a go, I buy a variety of nuts in bulk and put them with the cracker.  The children adore it!

It provides several opportunities:

  • The child has to “twist” the end that holds the nut tightly in the holder.  This exercises important fine motor muscles.
  • To crack the nut, it takes a strong and intentional push down of the handle.  This takes strength and focus – both important skills.  This is a great activity for children with lots of energy!
  • Finally, it provides a delicious morsel of nutmeat.  This helps the children to understand where nut meat comes from!  And, oh, how yummy!

It is nice to store the nuts in a lovely basket.  The children line up to crack nuts -so I have not made it to the basket!