In your child’s early years, there are many skills and developmental milestones to look out for. But, one of the most important skills to develop during the toddler years is the pincer grasp. Working their little finger muscles with pincer grasp activities will set them up for success with future writing tasks and other daily activities.
Here are twenty of the best activities to help your toddler develop and strengthen their pincer grasp.
1. Get Building with Blocks
Playing with wooden blocks or plastic blocks is a great way to spark kids’ creativity while also using the pincer grasp. Children will be motivated and intrigued, which will make pincer grasp practice flow naturally. Plus, it’s so fun to see the block creations they come up with!
Learn More: Teach Early Years
2. Have a Finger Food Feast
Self-feeding is one of the pincer grasp activities that you can do frequently and consistently. While it may cause a bit of a mess at first, your child will be highly motivated to get that yummy finger food into their mouth! Practice with foods of all shapes, sizes, and textures for maximum efficacy.
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3. Strengthen the Index Finger
Basic hand motions, such as poking and flexing, will help to strengthen your toddler’s pointer finger. From there, they will be better equipped to develop a strong pincer grasp. Think of it as a preliminary exercise, which is especially great for younger toddlers, and even babies under 1 year old.
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4. Whisk and Pom Pom Activity
This is one of those pincer grasp activities that toddler parents just keep coming back to. Simply put a few pom poms inside your kitchen whisk, and let your kid have fun grasping and pulling to get the pom poms out from between the wires. As they advance with this activity, so will their pincer grasp!
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5. Toys with Pull Strings
Though they may seem a bit old-fashioned, toys with pull strings are a great tool for teaching pincer grasp. Make sure to choose a toy that really interests your child, so that they are motivated and excited to perform that pincer grasp and pull motion. There are interesting options for every kid!
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6. Turning Board Book Pages
Board books are perfect for little hands and fingers. Turning the pages is a great way to develop the pincer grasp, and the stories inside are perfect for growing a child’s imagination and understanding of the world around them. Plus, reading together has so many benefits for the child’s emotional, social, and language skills!
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7. Puzzles with Knobs
Putting puzzles together is a great way to improve motor skills and critical thinking skills. For toddlers, wooden puzzles with knobs on each piece help them develop a good grasp for handwriting activities later in life. Find puzzles that feature pictures, objects, and characters that are interesting for your toddler.
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8. Color Mixing with an Eye Dropper
Eye droppers make an excellent activity for practicing pinching and squeezing, and you can combine this favorite pincer activity with other lessons such as color mixing and making predictions. The key here is to make the basic pincer grasp activity (i.e., squeezing the eye dropper) part of a larger collection of activities.
Learn More: How We Montessori
9. Sorting Small Objects
Here is proof that you can incorporate everyday activities into pincer grasp training. Simply get a collection of small objects, like buttons, coins, and other doodads. Then, have your child sort them according to shape, size, or color. Ice cube trays and other sectioned storage containers are great for this activity.
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10. Playing with Clothespins
Here is a pincer grip activity that can help you around the house today and prepare your toddler for future tasks and motor activities, too. Have your child help with the daily routine of hanging the laundry, or find other ways for them to grip, open, and clip clothespins around the house.
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11. Making Transfers with Tongs
There are so many great pincer grasp activity ideas for using tongs. You can offer motor skill development activities to your little one, and this resource is full of different ways to practice various types of grasp with your toddler. All you need is a kid-friendly set of tongs!
Learn More: The Empowered Educator Online
12. Cutting Activities with Safety Scissors
This is a great way to teach an everyday activity while also solidifying the pincer grip. Make sure that you give your child scissors that are safe for their age and skill level, and then let them cut away at any appropriate material. Start with easier things to cut, then move up to thicker materials as your child’s pincer grip strengthens.
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13. Process-Based Art Projects
The Montessori school of thought is big on process-based art projects and this approach often features several steps and activities that will help build up your child’s pincer grip. These pincer grip activities are all part of the process, and it makes for fun activities that you can do together!
Learn More: Reach for Montessori
14. Intentional Use of Playdough
Playdough is a fun material to Squamish around and creates with. It can also be the perfect way to help develop the pincer grasp in early childhood. Practice poking and manipulating the play dough with the pointer finger in order to develop the pincer grip muscles.
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15. Sew it Up with Lacing Cards
Lacing cards are a fun way to introduce a new skill and art firm while also strengthening the pincer grip. This pincer grip activity is perfect for older toddlers and kids who have mastered other motor skills and spacial judgment skills.
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16. Peeling and Sticking Stickers
What kid doesn’t love stickers!? Leverage their love for Stickers by asking them to peel and stick the stickers for themselves. They’ll use a complex range of different grasps in order to complete the task, which will help them improve their pincer grasp.
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17. Special Toys for Developing Pincer Grasp
These are several play tools and toys that are specifically designed to help children develop their pincer grip. Use these toys as inspiration for tasks and activities around the house, and incorporate them into everyday activities.
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18. Washing the Windows
Everyday activities and chores are a great chance to offer pincer grip practice for your toddler. Bring them into the process of washing the windows, just make sure that you are using toddler-friendly materials, such as non-toxic cleaning supplies.
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19. Making Lite-Brite Pictures
Lite-Brite is a popular toy that has been around for decades, and it’s also a great tool for Developing a pincer grasp. This toy is best for older toddlers since it includes small pieces and requires them to follow instructions. Make sure that lite-brite doesn’t pose a choking hazard for your kid, and then get creative with these glowing pieces!
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20. Arranging Flowers Together
Bring a pop of beauty and color to your home, and let your child help you! Arranging flowers– real or fake – is a fun way to promote pincer grip skills while also inspiring creative thinking skills. Your lids will have fun arranging and rearranging the flowers, and they’ll love seeing their arrangements in the home.
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