The Mini Masher measures approximately 17cm in length.
The handle comes in four colour choices; Red, Green, Yellow and Pink.
The use of a Masher helps to promote upper body strength while still maintaining a need for control and coordination of movement.
Many people think of mashed potato when they look at this tool, but in my own classroom we tend to use our Mashers more frequently for avocado and bananas. The Masher works extremely effectively on both of these. We find that it promotes a more independent process for toddlers and Pre-school age children, as the children are able to peel and mash the flesh of these fruits alone (whereas potatoes need to be cooked first and therefore requires more adult assistance).
It is a much-loved tool in my classroom but my favourite Masher moment occurred in a Montessori home. My friend, colleague and inspirational Montessori-mum Alison shared a story with me about a surprise that she encountered after a recent phone call. She was on the phone, chatting to a friend, as her 4 year old son busied himself nearby in the kitchen. In her peripheral vision Alison could see that he was happily and actively engaged but she couldn't quite identify what he was doing. When Alison ended her phone call she discovered that her son had been busily preparing a bowl of avocado dip for her! He had done this entirely spontaneously, without any suggestion or guidance from an adult! Alison had presented this process to him in the past but on this occasion he completed all the steps independently; using his Kiddie Kutter knife to open the avocado, scooping out the flesh, mashing it up, cutting a lemon to squeeze in some juice and then adding a touch of pepper for flavour.
Another slightly unusual application for the Mini Masher is the process of making recycled paper! One step of this process involves draining excess water from the freshly arranged square of pulp - the Masher is perfect for this task.
The Mini Masher is shown in the bottom left panel.
As a side note - if you present a banana mashing activity to a young child it might be the ideal time to demonstrate the 'monkey method' for peeling a banana. If you open and peel a banana from the "bottom" up (rather from the stem, as most humans do!) then it opens more effectively and does not leave the 'stringy bits' that so many children seem to find distasteful. Thanks to our primate relatives for teaching us this technique!
Thanks to Luke Fitzgerald at Life Hacker for this great set of 'how-to' photos!
If a child struggles to initially open it at the base (as it does not have the stem for leverage) then they can be shown how to squeeze the tip to split the skin or, if needed, a small cross-shaped incision can be made in advance by the adult.