Fine motor skills are a huge part of your child’s development! These skills involve the small muscles in the hands and fingers, allowing your child to pick up and use objects appropriately. As kids grow, their grasp follows a natural progression. They will first start by using their whole hand, palm, and fingers to pick up larger items and eventually to a more precise ability to pick up tiny items. Between 7 and 12 months, your baby will start to develop a pincer grasp with the thumb and index finger, which allows them to pick up small objects for self-feeding and playing. It is also one of the foundational skills needed to complete future tasks like fasteners on their clothing, using utensils to eat, and skills such as handwriting and cutting!
There are many ways to help develop these skills using simple household objects that you likely have in your home. The following activities are fun things you can incorporate into your daily routine to help your child refine this skill.
Food can be a huge motivator for kids! Working on using a pincer grasp with preferred food that your child is excited to grab is a great place to start. Scatter the food on the tray or only have 1-2 pieces available at a time instead of putting too many in one area. Clusters of food will give them an opportunity to use a raking grasp to grab the food using their entire hand.
Examples of good foods to try: Gerber’s puffs, cheerios
If your child needs help, you can use a hand over hand technique to hold down the last 3 fingers so they are forced to use a thumb and pointer finger grasp
|Muffin Tin/Egg Carton/Ice Cube Tray
Place objects into a container with deep holes such as a muffin tin, egg crate or carton, or ice cube tray. Have your child get the objects out of the container. This will help facilitate a pincer grasp in order for the child to reach in and obtain the object. Use edible items to avoid choking.
|Pom Pom Whisk
Stuff a kitchen whisk with lots of pom poms and watch your child entertain themselves by pulling out the pom poms. This may require demonstration (because they likely will enjoy shaking them out of the whisk as well).
|Pom Pom Carton
Have your child place pom poms through the hole of a milk/juice carton. Your child will have to use a fine motor, pincer grasp in order to successfully get the pom pom into the carton.
This is a great activity to get your child to use a pincer grasp. You will definitely need to help them by pulling back the sticker. Allow them to pinch the sticker and pull it back and place somewhere fun!
Have your kid help turn the pages one at a time of thick paged books. If you need to help them get started in turning the page, that is okay!
|Pipe Cleaners Through a Colander
Have your child thread pipe cleaners through the holes of a colander. This not only will work on their pincer grasp, but their visual motor skills too!
This game can be engaging for toddlers while also working on their pincer grasp. You can punch small holes in an egg carton and have your child feed q-tips through the holes.