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Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Pinching

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Developing Fine Motor Skills Series from @happybrownhouse

Pinching items and picking them up requires children to use their pincer grasp. It's one of the first fine motor skills your child really develops as a baby, mainly to pick up Cheerios, and then they continue to use it through the "vacuum cleaner" stage when they pick up every tiny thing on the floor and try to eat it. Asher is most definitely in the "vacuum cleaner" stage. It's amazing how much he can already manipulate with his fingers.

With his ability to tear paper and his interest in big brother's school activities, I've already started to put him in the high chair and allow him to play with some of the materials we're working with. For instance, I attached clear contact paper to his tray and gave him some tissue paper squares. After showing him how to stick them to the contact paper, he caught on quickly and made his first piece of art. It wasn't until later that I realized this activity was helping him fine tune his fine motor skills.

Toddler Tissue Paper Mosaic from @happybrownhouse

Here are some ways we work on strengthening and fine tuning the pincer grasp around our house...


Clothespins are such a versatile tool for little hands. By pairing them up with learning concepts, clothespins packs a big punch! The pinching movement required to open them strengthens the pincer grasp, which helps you hold your pencil correctly and pick up small items. The other great thing about clothespins? Most of us already have them around our house or can get them cheaply at the closest dollar store.

  • Some of my favorite ways to use clothespins are by playing clothespin games. (Here's a post I wrote on Totally Tots last year with a big list of printable clothespin games to help you get started.)
  • Hang some string and let your child clip ABC or number cards in order.
  • If space is a concern, write the ABC's on the clothespins and have them clip them in order on the bottom part of a hanger.
  • When folding laundry, put the clean socks in a pile and let your child match up the socks and clip them together for you.
  • If you are using colored plastic clothespins, have your child sort the colors and clip them to the side of a plastic basket.
  • Use clothespins to pinch a small sponge or cotton ball and let them paint. (Sneaky fine motor fun!)

 Piggy Banks & Slots

One of the activities that Jonah has always loved is playing with a plastic piggy bank and small disks used to mark your space in Bingo. (Funny Story Side Note: I found these in a box of things I inherited from my great grandmother after she passed away. Of all the things I inherited, we use these the most. Ha!) Even though he is much older now than when I introduced this game, he still likes to play store and other silly games. It's gotten a lot of mileage. In addition to pinching coins and picking them up, your child will also be working on hand-eye coordination by placing the item in a specific, small slot. Children have to manipulate the coin/bingo marker and make adjustments to make the item fit correctly and fall through the slot.

Piggy Bank Fine Motor Skills practice from @happybrownhouse

Medicine Dropper

One day after I had given Asher some medicine, I placed the medicine dropper in the sink of soapy water. A few minutes later, I found Jonah exploring. He was methodically squeezing the dropper to suck up soapy water and squirt it back out. I asked him if he wanted to explore some more and quickly moved him to the table. I set up two cups; one full and the other empty. We squirted a drop of food coloring in to make it easier to see the water and off he went! He transferred the colored water back and forth between the cups for the better part of an hour while I tackled chores. It is something he enjoys and still requests. I bet your child will love it, too.

Develop Fine Motor Skills by using a medicine dropper to transfer water from @happybrownhouse

This post is a part of the 10 day series, Developing Fine Motor Skills. This series is part of the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch. To see the list of the topics from the other bloggers, visit iHomeschool Network. There are some fantastic topics and giveaways!

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