When a child holds a small object between the tips of the index finger and thumbs, this is called a superior or refined pincer grasp. The superior pincer grasp typically develops by 12 months of age, but it may develop a few months earlier in some babies.
Pincer Grasp Activities
Incorporating activates into an infant’s regular routine is a great was to help develop the pincer grasp. At snack time, provide small food items such as Cheerios and put each piece into a different section of a plastic ice tray. This will encourage baby to use a pincer grasp when reaching in to grasp the pieces. I would recommend taping the ice tray to the table or highchair tray so it doesn’t slide around. Here are a few more activities to help develop a pincer grasp.
1. Peel off stickers small “kids” stickers and place them on a piece of paper.
2. Tape a piece of contact paper to the wall with the sticky side facing outward. Have your child pick up small pom poms or cotton ball pieces and stick them to the contact paper.
3. Cut several colorful straws into small pieces. Have the child pick up one piece at a time and drop it into a water bottle.
4. Take a kitchen whisk and stuff it full of small pom poms and have your child remove them.
5. Playing with toys that require a pincer grasp provides opportunities for practicing the skill, which is how motor learning occurs. Practices improves muscle strength and coordination, and it will also improve your little one’s confidence!