pincer grasp is a fine motor skill that shows up when babies start to pick up cereal in self-feeding. The developmental skill is essential for development of fine motor skills and manipulation of toys and items in play and discovery. These neat pincer grasp activities are creative ways that can help kids develop the small motor skill area.
Pincer grasp is a hand grasp that develops around the time a baby is 8-10 months old. This grasp corresponds to the time a baby is beginning to feed themselves finger foods. The pincer grasp is needed in order to grasp a small item, pinch it between the index and thumb and bring it to the mouth.
Activities to Promote Pincer Grasp for Baby
1.PLAYING WITH BLOCKS
Introducing blocks of various sizes and textures encourages your baby to grasp items with their hands and explore with their mouths. I prefer wooden blocks myself since they provide more sensory input than plastic. But having a variety of textures is great too!
2.INTRODUCING FINGER FOODS
Make sure your baby is ready for finger foods before introducing them, but encouraging finger foods like circle shape cereal or puffs are a great way to encourage the skill of grasping smaller objects.
3 TURNING PAGES OF A BOARD BOOK
Board books are a great start to encourage language skills as well as pinching the pages to turn them. As your baby masters board books, start introducing books with thinner pages to perfect this skill.
Activities to Promote Pincer Grasp for Toddlers & Preschoolers
When your baby gets to be 2 years or older, so you can really amp up the pincer grasp activities to include smaller objects that aren’t edible. Of course, you need to be close by and monitor your young toddler or preschooler to make sure they don’t put small items into their mouth. With my own kids, I have found age 2 to be a good age to introduce items such as larger pom-poms and beads.
1 POM-POM TRANSFER
Pom-poms are so fun and colorful! You can use them in crafts or transfer between containers. Here is a picture of my 2-year old using a silicone candy tray to transfer pom-poms into. We even added some very basic color recognition and patterns with this.
Pincer Grasp Activities for Toddlers
Adding tongs into an activity is a great way to encourage a good pincer grasp and tripod grasp for handwriting. I like using tongs for the pom-pom transfer activity I mentioned above. Check below for some of my tong recommendations.
Pinching clothespins is a great way to strengthen the fingers needed for the pincer grasp. You can even find clothespins that have to require various amounts of “squeezing” to open them.
Playing with play dough (or slime, or clay) is a great way to promote pincer grasp. You can form lines, shapes, animals, numbers, have them create their own designs, or use play dough mats.
SEARCH AND FIND ACTIVITIES
I love putting items into sensory play mediums like play dough, slime, oobleck or moon sand and asking the kids to search and find them. If you use a thicker medium like play dough or slime, the child needs to dig the items out and this is great strengthening for the fingers and pincers.
5 fun and hands-on ways to play with slime.
Stringing beads is a harder skill since it requires both hands to be pinching at the same time (one holding the string and one holding the beads). This makes it an excellent activity for bilateral coordination and crossing mid line. Young toddlers can also practice this using larger beads and thicker string such as a shoelace or yarn.
BEADS OR MARBLE TRANSFER
This activity works great with using tongs or fingers. Just set up two containers, one with a smaller opening such as an old milk bottle or drink bottle. Have the child pick up one marble or bead at a time and drop it into the container. Marble runs would also be a great addition to this.
Who doesn’t love stickers? Peeling stickers from a sticker book or doing a craft activity with them is great pincer grasp practice. We use sticker books for our quiet bag at church too. Lots of great things you can do with them.
Lacing cards are similar to stringing beads in that they use bilateral coordination and crossing mid line. It’s also a great visual motor activity as well as pincer grasp practice.
Owl lacing card for letter O activities for tot-school