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Spreading Egg Salad with a Knife

Sweet Pea is 32 months old.

From: I know that spreading something with a knife is a common Montessori activity, but I am not sure where I first read about it.


  • Egg salad, cream cheese, jelly or any other food item that spreads easily.
  • A small bowl to contain the spreadable item.
  • Several crackers.
  • A small plate for the crackers.
  • Toddler safe knife or a plastic knife.
  • Bib (optional, but strongly recommended).
  • High chair or booster seat at the kitchen table (optional).


  • Gather all of your materials.  Put the egg salad in the small bowl.  Put the crackers on the plate.
  • Optionally, put the bib on your tot and put him or her in the high chair / booster seat.
  • Now that you have a captive audience (Muh-ha-ha!), discuss your own house rules regarding safe knife use.
  • Demonstrate holding the knife securely in your dominant hand.
  • Using the knife, slowly scoop about a teaspoon of egg salad out of the bowl.
  • Pick up a cracker in your other hand and carefully spread the egg salad onto the cracker.
  • Eat the cracker or offer it to your tot.
  • When it is your tot’s turn, help him/her grip the handle of the knife with his/her dominant hand.
  • Instruct him/her to pick up a cracker in the other hand.
  • Allow your tot to scoop the egg salad from the bowl and spread it onto the cracker.

Observations: Sweet Pea had a lot of fun with this.  She loved spreading the egg salad on the crackers, but she had more trouble than I expected at first.  It is hard to remember that something I do every day is so new for her and that she needs practice.

She especially enjoyed the eating part of it.

This was an excellent activity and I would definitely recommend it for other tots.  We will definitely be doing it again in the future with other spreadable eatables.

Notes from the Trenches: This activity is both messy and dangerous, which I suppose is a bonus if you are a tot and a negative if you are a parent.  I wonder if I should start taking away stars for those things?

Rating: 4 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent after some instruction, Frugal)

4 comments to Spreading Egg Salad with a Knife

  • Mae

    My daughter loves to put her own peanut butter on her sandwhiches. We have some cute spoons and safe knives and forks (they are zoo pal utensils) and she loves to use those when we do things! She will put her own butter on her toast, and her own peanut butter on sandwhiches. And she’s been doing cream cheese on bagels lately. She’s really good at it, and we too discussed the importance of knife safety.

    Good activity!! This is something we’ve been doing for awhile now.


  • Looks like she had fun!! My Stitch likes to make his own Chocolate Spread sandwiches for breakfast! It’s messy, but he enjoys it and I figure he’s learning a skill. He uses the knife well, but the bread is often soft and he digs a little hard, but otherwise I’m impressed. He just decided he’d had enough of waiting one day and has done it often since (under close supervision) ~ he has his own round ended knife and he always uses it 😀

  • Gosh, I’d never thought to let Maddie spread her own butter or cream cheese, though I’m sure she would love it. We must try it tomorrow morning! I have a toddler utensil set, but she’s only used the knife to slice a banana. Thank you for the great idea!

  • I have been slowly buying more kid sized kitchen items for my kids. I have not seen this set before and I really like the look of it. I just bought a cutting wheel type knife (not sure exactly what it is called) but it can’t be used for spreading.

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