Making ones own meal is a practical life skill that teaches self-reliance, confidence, and responsibility. Not only will children prepare their meals, but learn where the food comes from, tending to the garden where they pick fresh vegetables when it is time to harvest. To appease their curiosity, we may have a world map out with miniature vegetable and fruit figurines to place on the map of where they first originated from.
While preparing their meal, the child will learn visual discrimination skills (when to stop pouring their drink), along with fine motor skills like cutting, grating, or spreading his or her food, or even building hand strength by squeezing oranges for orange juice.
At the table, the child will also be learning grace and courtesy skills. How to set a table, how to place the napkin, how to ask politely to pass the bowl of fruit, and so forth. When finished, it is the child's responsibility to gather his things, take to the sink, and wash them and place them back where they go. The entire process builds self-confidence, independence, and responsibility skills, all vital qualities in preparing the child to be a successful adult.