Tips & Tricks for Zippering

Let’s Talk About Zippers!

Mastering dressing and fastener skills are important steps toward independence for any child. Zipping involves important skills like bilateral coordination, motor planning, pinch strength, maintaining an open thumb web space, and visual motor integration. Today, we’ll learn about some strategies to help your child conquer zipping!


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Don’t rush

Give your child lots of opportunities to practice their zipper skills. Choose a time when you’re not in a rush, or when you don’t have a schedule to stick to–like when you’re going outside to play, or headed off to the park.

Give just the right amount of help

It’s OK to use hand-over-hand assistance to help your child get the zipper started. Then, as their skill and confidence grows, you can decrease the amount of help you give them each time.

Use visual cues

Place a sticker or piece of tape on the spot your child should hold– this helps them know where to put their hands when zipping. It also helps to demonstrate the process of engaging or “hooking” the zipper so they can see it clearly. 

Practice the motions

You can practice the motion of engaging the zipper using a bread tie and a ribbon or pipe cleaner! This is a great and fun way for kids to practice coordinating their hands to work on threading the zipper.

Modify the task

Add a keyring or keychain to the zipper to make it easier for little hands to grasp. 

Practice off self

Lie the piece of clothing flat on a table when practicing, instead of having children practice while wearing it– this helps them be able to see the zipping process better. You can even practice zipping on a favorite stuffed animal, or try a zipper board!

With zipping, as with all new skills, the key is to practice, practice, practice! If your child needs a little extra help with zippers, or other fasteners and self-care skills, consult your friendly neighborhood occupational therapist here at Project Play Therapy. Happy zipping!


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