Fine Motor Activities (that are cheap!)

You know those milestone papers that your doctor hands to you at your child’s well baby checkups?  I know them all too well.  I don’t want to freak out, but I’m a worrier.  I can’t help it.  Those catchy phrase pictures that say something like “worrying only adds to today’s burdens”, blah blah blah, don’t stop me!  They just make me worry that I worry too much.

So yes, I consult the milestone chart like it’s my job.  Well, because from the day I gave birth, it kinda is my job!

At baby boy’s 12 month check up the DR asked if he had achieved most of the goals for that month.  Gulp…the only thing he wasn’t able to do was use his pincer grasp.  You know where they pick itty bitty things up with their thumb, forefinger, and middle finger.  Nope, not there yet.

For the next month or so, I made it my mission to get baby boy to use his pincer grasp.  He started doing it more and more about two weeks after his appointment, so whew my worries were over.  (Now we just have to get the stinker to walk).  In those couple of months I created many opportunities to work with materials that would help his pincer grasp, and now I get to share them with you!  All of these activities can be done with things that are around your house, or at the Dollar Store (my new favorite store!)

pincer grasp activities

10 Activities to help with the pincer grasp.

  • Playdoh.  Playdoh is something that you can’t resist poking and prodding.  Great for little fingers.  Putting small dowels in the playdoh is a fine motor bonus!
  • Pipe cleaners in a colander.  You have probably seen this on Pinterest a few times.  But it works like a charm!  I bend over the ends so that the sharp point is not sticking out.  If you put them in far enough your child will be forced to use the pincer grasp to get them out instead of pulling them out with their fist.

pincer grasp activities

 

  • Tissue box.  I took an old tissue box and put some goodies (mainly pom poms because my son is obsessed with them) inside.  Baby boy loves reaching in and feeling around for what’s in there.  It’s always a surprise!
  • Zippers.  This is a tough one but baby boy finally got the hang of it and will attempt to zip the zippers on his activity board.  They are so tiny that there is no other way to grab them than by using their pincer grasp.
  • Pom poms and ice cube trays.  If you let your child play with the tiny pom poms they will be more likely to use their fingers to grab them than their whole hand.  Supervision is necessary though!  Have them take the pom poms and put them in an ice cube tray, and repeat as long as their attention holds!  For my son that is oh, probably about 45 seconds!
  • Fine motor tube.  I recently posted about how we used an old paper towel tube, tape and pom poms (yes, again!) to create an easy drop tube for little finds.

pincer grasp activities

 

  • Wipe box.  Oh holy wipe box.  Those old containers for wipes are such a fun toy (who would have known!).  We put, you guessed it, pom poms into the box and baby boy sticks his hand in and fishes them out.  It has taken him a few tries to understand that he has to use the other hand to help hold the box down while he pulls something out…problem solving at its best.

pincer grasp activities

 

  • Finger foods!  It’s an easy one, but creates lots of practice.  I have found that they less squishy the food is the more baby boy will use his fingers to pick it up instead of his whole hand.  Bits of toast or cut up grapes work well, where rice, soft pears and sweet potatoes are more of a “shovel into my whole mouth with my hand” kind of thing.
  • Sensory bins.  We have just started exploring sensory bins and baby boy is intrigued!  He likes to pick up the items and let them fall out of his hands slowly.  Our first bin had rice, noodles, and blocks in it.  Perfect for fine motor!

pincer grasp activities

 

  • Straws in a cup.  I would hold my hand over the top of the cup to reveal only the top inch or so.  When baby boy grabbed the straw there was only a little bit for him to grab so he couldn’t use his fist, and instead used his fingers.  Oh so cheap!
Ta-da!  10 easy and cheap ways to practice the pincer grasp!  I will have to make a point to tell our DR that he now uses a pincer grasp!!! Click here to see all the other cool stuff he has learned to do lately (smile)
*As with anything, please supervise your child when using small things!*

What other activities have you found that helps fine motor skills?

Linked up to Top Ten Tuesday

 

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