Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Toddler Tuesday {Fine Motor: Tweezers}

Fine motor skills are when the eyes and fingers work together to accomplish a task.  Buttoning buttons, hold a writing utensil, threading a needle, picking a piece of lint off of your sleeve, we use fine motor skills all the time.  Strengthening the muscles that allow such coordination can start at a very early age.  The pincer grasp (using your thumb and forefinger to pick up a small object) is typically mastered by 9 months of age and that is when you can begin working with your child on strengthening those little muscles in their hands.  Giving small finger foods for snack for instance.  It takes hand eye coordination and challenges those fine motor muscles.  As your child gets a little more mature the fun with fine motor tuning can really begin.  

Our most recent fine motor adventure involved tweezers!

The blue pair you see above were given to me when I was a teacher but you can easily get a large, made for children, set from Amazon or your local parent-teacher store.  For this activity I just got out some green and yellow pom poms for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day, a plastic deviled egg platter that I purchased years ago from a dollar store and said tweezers.  I showed him how to do it once, being sure to explain exactly where he needed to squeeze the tweezers to make them work, and set him free.

Love how he uses his tongue to help himself concentrate!
I wasn't sure if he'd even be interested in this activity but he wanted to do it over and over.  It was challenging but not enough to frustrate him and it held his attention very well.  He even wanted to show David how to do it when he got home from work.  

Placing pom poms into the egg cups one by one using only the tweezers.
Along with the fine motor challenges that this activity offers, we also counted the pom poms, talked about the colors, even touched on patterns a bit. A lot of pre-mathematics going on! It is never too early to expose children to concepts and vocabulary.  Even if they are too young to do something independently, they will still benefit from hearing the vocabulary for concepts they will master in the future.  It's all part of building that strong foundation on which they will be able to place all of their future education!

Don't have a nifty egg platter?  This activity can also be done with an ice cube tray or an egg carton.  You could also use cotton balls instead of pom poms.  As always, they sky is the limit here but I would recommend starting with large, soft objects and gradually move toward smaller, harder objects like pasta or beans as they gain better coordination.  

Some other great fine motor strengthening activities:
- play-doh (or any other kind of dough)
- lacing (lacing shapes, lacing beads, pony beads or pasta on pipe cleaners, etc)
- coloring/writing/drawing (try using broken jumbo crayons.  That will encourage tripod grasp)
- dropping coins in slots
- matching lids to bottles
- painting with small objects (thin brushes, Q-tips, etc.)
- pulling corn kernels off a cob for old fashioned pop corn
- hammering golf tees into styrofoam, pumpkins, etc.
- squeezing clothes pins
- hole punches
- cutting with scissors
- squirting a water gun
- garlic press sponge squeezing
- Mr. Potato Head
- latch board
- spray bottles
- eye droppers
- nuts and bolts
- pin pushing

I could go on and on.  If you have tried all of these and need some more, Pinterest has an infinite number of ideas there. These are a lot of the ones I used to use in my preschool classroom. The best part is that you probably have everything you need for fine motor strengthening activities right in your home already.  Lets get those little fingers moving!

List your favorite fine motor activities below!!


Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "We Like To Eat, Eat, Eat"
And two years ago today: "A Hairy Situation"

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  1. Hi! What a cute idea! Any ideas to develop fine motor for a 10 month old?

    1. Hi! Thank you. Pushing or pulling things (wash clothes, scarves, really big pom poms, etc) in and out of an empty wipe case were some of Ayden's favorite activities around that age. Those wooden puzzles with the HUGE knobs from Melissa and Doug are good. To be honest, though, around the 10 month mark, kiddos are usually more interested in working on gross motor skills. Crawling/walking, pulling up and cruising, climbing stairs, etc. If your child doesn't seem too interested in working on fine motor stuff right now, no worries. The interest will come with time! Kids tend to focus on one area of development at a time and can have short attention spans in the other areas while they are mastering it.

    2. I came across this tonight: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/283163895295256146/
      It's a good one!

    3. Sarah,
      Thank you so much! I always appreciate your insight, help and perspective.
      Thanks for all that you do!

  2. We do this sort of project often. My son loves it!