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Featuring articles from our principal Occupational Therapist, Dr Nicole Grant, members of the therapy team, and guest posts from members of our community.  

Improving Fine Motor Skills and Food Independence through Yumbox

GRACE HOLGATE

 Two-year-old Clara enjoying her delicious lunch from her Yumbox lunchbox.  Photo: Grace Holgate

Two-year-old Clara enjoying her delicious lunch from her Yumbox lunchbox. Photo: Grace Holgate

There is probably nothing more challenging than finding the right lunchbox for your child. While your child’s lunchbox priorities might surround having Paw Patrol on the front and having the ‘coolest’ box in the playground, we know that parents want their child’s lunchbox to be sturdy, leakproof, have a working lock or zipper and of course, have the capacity to fit a variety of healthy snacks.

We know that having the right lunchbox is not only vital to keeping your child’s food fresh but having a lunchbox that also assists children towards food independence is an incredible feature.

During our research to find the perfect lunchbox, we came across some pretty nifty products, but none of them compared to the likes of Yumbox.

Yumbox is a kid-friendly, bento-style lunch container that is brilliantly designed for kids (and adults!). Yumbox is made of high quality, super durable and BPA-free food-safe materials, so you know that you’re buying a safe and reliable product.

Amongst parents and therapists, Yumboxes are a bit of a cult favourite- and for good reason! The bento style divides meals into sections and encourages a more holistic approach to eating. Yumboxes come in a range of different sizes and configurations, meaning they’re suited to a range of appetites and preferences. This is excellent for those picky eaters and the kiddies that don’t like different food touching each other!

But why is food independence and fine motor skills important? We spoke to our incredible Occupational Therapist, Steph Holgate to find out more.

“Fine motor skills are really important to be able to hold and manipulate utensils. When you’re a young child, you use your fingers a lot to hold food and feed yourself,” Steph said.

“As kids transition as they go through staying at home, going to kindergarten and then to school, they are not always going to have parental guidance to help them eat. In a school environment, it is very likely that a child will not have help at meal times, so it's really important that they are able to have food independence to feed themselves and get the nutrition that they need”.

 Clara having her yummy morning tea and using her 'Drink in the Box'.  Photo: Grace Holgate

Clara having her yummy morning tea and using her 'Drink in the Box'. Photo: Grace Holgate

We also spoke to Founder of Mini Hippo Imports, Megan Mallen to get an insight on why Yumboxes are lunch and snack time essentials.

“The six-compartment Tapas and Original Yumboxes are better for kids who prefer to pick and choose their every bite, and the smaller sections encourage the development of fine motor skills when eating. Dry cereal, cut-up fruit, crackers and cheese and small baked goods - think muffins, quiches, pastries - are ideal for these Yumbox styles, and encourage the use of fine motor skills to pick up and eat food with their fingers,” Megan said.

“Alternatively, the four-compartment Panino and the five-compartment Tapas styles are better suited to kids who prefer larger meals, like sandwiches, wraps, sushi or pasta, as they feature one big section surrounded by three or four smaller ones. But even when given larger foods in their Yumboxes, kids are encouraged to use their fingers or a fork or spoon to eat their lunch, allowing them to practice those valuable fine motor skills they’ll need as they grow up,” Megan said.

“But no matter which style you go for, there are certain features which make the Yumbox ideal for kids who need to improve their fine motor skills, particularly when eating.  Even the clasp, which easily clicks open and close, but ensures the Yumbox is totally leak-proof by pressing the silicone lining inside the lid onto the food tray's compartments, allows kids to practice their fine motor skills every time they open up their Yumbox and see what’s inside!”

Yumbox provides a range of lunchbox styles that can cater to all of your child’s lunchtime needs! Children can improve their fine motor skills and build their food independence as they eat their delicious and nutritious snacks.

If you’re looking for the ultimate lunchbox that goes beyond storing food, then Yumbox is a must for your family!

Check out the Yumbox website for their great range of products! www.minihippo.com.au