You've probably heard it said that the best time to learn a language is when you're a kid, because kids have brains like sponges, just ready to soak up *all* the knowledge. (Unlike adults, who have brains like... what's the opposite of a sponge? A rock?) Of course, that means childhood is the best time to learn just about anything... even eating with chopsticks. So if you're an adult who wishes you'd mastered this skill before your brain turned into a rock, you'll be happy to hear that there are some genius products on Amazon to help help your kid learn how to use chopsticks. (And maybe even you! As long as they're not too small for your hands.)
The pros of learning to use chopsticks extend beyond just... using chopsticks. As the Rhode Island-based early education non-profit BrightStars explained on its blog, the use of chopsticks can help to build fine motor skills, an incredibly important precursor to learning how to write:
"By practicing picking up, manipulating, and exercising the small muscles in the palm of the hand you are actually enabling children to gain control and strength."
Now, just because kids are fast learners doesn't mean they'll be total chopstick pros overnight. And that's fine.
"While some kids pick it up faster than others, other kids might need a little bit more practice," warned an article on The Asian Parent, which included a tutorial for a simple four-step chopsticks lesson plan. (The main tips to remember include instructing your child to grip the sticks as she would a pencil, using her middle finger as an "anchor" to keep them in position, and her thumb and index fingers to move the top stick up and down.)
First things first, however. One can't learn to use chopsticks without chopsticks. Luckily, there are some high-quality, low-price training chopsticks on Amazon that are sure to get your kids motivated.
1. Zoo pals
2. One size fits all
What sets these training chopsticks apart is that they're designed to adjust to your child's growing hand, and they have a removable bridge to offer three levels of support. Made from harmless food grade resin, they can be used with the left or right hand (microwave and dishwasher safe, too!).
3. Perfectly portable
4. Hello, kitty
5. Bear pair
6. For fork's sake
7. Mix it up
With 5 pairs to a set (red, pink, blue, green, and brown), the bears are removable so you can mix and match the different colors, and the white "chopstick helpers" can attach to any of the pairs. BPA-free and made from premium high quality melamine and silicone, these are also dishwasher safe. Ages 3 and up.