Tag Archives: pincer grasp

Boost Pincer Grasp With Tiny Containers

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….

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Remember these?

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.

 

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Want Pincer Grasp Before Her First Birthday? Bet You’ll Be Surprised At What Moves (Hint) Build Hand Control!

The image of a baby popping cereal into her mouth and grinning is commercial genius.  But what if your child is still raking them with a fist at 8 months?  Is that late or just right?  Is there a way to promote early grasp without offering a baby something tiny that she can choke on?  Only if you know the many ways grasp is developing in those first months of life.

Motor skills do not appear out of the blue.  There isn’t a switch that goes on to suddenly release the ability to roll or the ability to hold a bottle.  That’s true for my clients in Early Intervention as well.  Some have serious medical challenges, and some have yet to be diagnosed with ASD or a genetic disorder.  But no skills just pop out without foundational abilities first.

Motor skills start developing in the womb, folks. A premature arrival has medical consequences, but it also deprives a child of the motor and sensory development that naturally occurs while floating in a very active and progressively smaller apartment.  Some children catch up quickly and some do not.   What happens after birth will make a huge impact on the way movement skills are acquired and refined every single day after birth.

If you go shopping at a baby emporium, you would think that they sell toys that are absolutely essential to development.  Reading the labels, you’d think that hand control just couldn’t happen without a Whoozit or a Taggie toy.  Guess what?  Human beings have been developing pincer grasp long before Toys R Us came along, and as far as I know, infant development did just fine without them.  What makes a difference is what exposure and encouragement a child has to build his skills.  Fun toys can motivate a child, but they aren’t the most powerful tool I know to develop grasp.

Here are the great hidden things that build early fine motor skills:

  • Crawling:  I know, there is a big internet debate about whether crawling is necessary for walking.  Here is what I do know:  it is great for developing arm strength and control through the wrist.  It is amazing for building the arches of the hand that allow a child to curve the palm and bring fingers together.  Bonus Round:  crawling with objects in the palm.  Your baby will eventually move the toy toward the thumb-side of her hand so that she can put her weight on the pinky-side while crawling.  One hand, two different uses = better refined control.
  • Reaching While in Tummy Time:  Big-time hand skills develop in this position, especially when babies have to push way up while reaching.
  • Reaching Up While Lying on the Back:  All that abdominal strength is core, core, core stabilization, plus hand control without any arm support.  I make first-graders do exercises in this position before we work on handwriting.  It works.
  • Pivoting around on the Belly.  I love the pivot!!  I took a training course from a PT about 15 years ago that transformed my understanding of this move.  Your little one will be working arms, legs, core, neck, and I saved the best for last.  As she reaches and pivots, she will be using her hand in all directions as she leans on one side of her hand first the front, then the heel of her hand, etc…  Magic can happen for so many other skills using this move, but the biggest secret is how it develops hand control!

Good luck, and have fun developing great hand control before that pincer grasp emerges!!