These days I am getting pretty…lazy. My go-to items are designed so that children automatically improve their grasp or their posture without my intervention. I am always searching for easy carryover strategies to share with parents too. As with most things in life, easy is almost always better than complicated.
My recent fave piece of equipment to develop pincer grasp in toddlers and preschoolers is something you can pick up in your grocery store, but you are gonna use it quite differently from the manufacturer’s marketing plan….
Enter the tiny party cup, AKA the disposable shot glass! Yes, the one you used when you played “quarters” in school. The very same. These little cups work really well to teach toddlers to drink from an open cup, but they are also terrific containers to promote pincer grasp in young children. Drop a few small snacks into these little cups and discourage them from dumping their snack onto the table instead of reaching inside with their fingers.
No matter how small your child’s fingers are, they will automatically attempt a tripod or pincer grasp to retrieve their treat. You should’t have to say much of anything, but it never hurts to demonstrate how easy it is. Make sure you eat your snack once you take it out of your cup. After all, grownups deserve snacks too!
These little containers are much sturdier than paper cups. This means that they can survive the grasp of a toddler who cannot grade their force well. The cylindrical shape, with a slightly smaller base than top, naturally demands a refined grasp. The cups have a bit of texture around the middle of the cup (at least mine do) which gives some helpful tactile input to assist the non-dominant hand to maintain control during use. They are top-shelf dishwasher safe and hand-washable, in case you feel strongly that disposables aren’t part of your scene.
Has your child mastered pincer grasp? These little cups are fun to use in water and sand tables as well. Mastery of pouring and scooping develops strong wrist and forearm control for utensil use and pre-writing with crayons.
For more ideas on developing grasp, take a look at Want Pincer Grasp Before Her First Birthday? Bet You’ll Be Surprised At What Moves (Hint) Build Hand Control! and Develop Pincer Grasp With Ziploc Bags.