Activities to Develop a Pincer Grasp
Pincer grasp (sometimes called “pincher”) is an important fine motor building block for everything from self feeding to dressing to handwriting. As children grow and develop, they move from using their whole hand, to their fingers, ultimately graduating to using a neat pincer grasp to manipulate tiny objects– making their thumb and finger touch to form an “o”. Pincer grasp usually develops around 1 year old, though many children take longer to master it.
Check out this video from one of our occupational therapists, sharing pincer grasp activity ideas!
Here are some ways you can work on developing and strengthening your child’s pincer grasp with everyday household objects:
- Play with your food. Little ones can work on self-feeding with small puffs or cheerios, presented one at a time to work on pincer skills. Older children can even string cheerios, fruit loops, or dry paste together to make a necklace!
- Peel and place stickers. Stickers are highly motivating for young children, and peeling stickers off their backing is a great way to work on pincer grasp.
- Using tongs or tweezers to pick up objects is great practice for older children, and helps develop the muscles needed for proper pencil grasp.
- Many board games and toys are great for targeting pincer grasp. Try Lite Brite, Operation, Jenga, or simple wind-up toys to get those pincher fingers working!
- Hide small objects in putty, slime, or play doh. Little fingers have to work hard to dig out small beads or other objects from a resistive material, which helps to work on hand strength and pincer grasp.
Want more activity ideas? Check out this blog post from The OT Toolbox!
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