From our son’s very first experiences with food, we’ve encouraged him to self-feed. The baby-led weaning engages many aspects of Montessori including developing fine motor skills from handling the food and the sensorial experience of taste. Around his first year, we introduced utensils into the mix. Needless to say, things got quite a bit messier around mealtimes.
One idea we had was to create a simple placemat to help him understand where the cup, bowl / plate and utensil he was using goes. Some of the ones we saw online had full utensil spreads with a knife, fork, spoon etc. We wanted to start simple, so we created much more basic template for him. One template includes a fork, the other a spoon. We would rarely have both utensils during any single mealtime.
To use the templates below, simply download them and print them out. We sized them to the standard letter paper that will work with most printers. Since placemats are bound to get dirty, we took the extra step of laminating them before use.