Category Archives: Pincer Grasp

Activities That Help Develop A Pincer Grasp

A pincer grasp is when you use your thumb and the tip of your index finger to pick up an object. As children develop they move from a gross raking grasp involving their whole hand to a more refined pincer grasp as seen in the picture below.

A pincer grasp is important for many functional activities such as zipping a zipper, picking up small objects, using a key, etc. Here are some activity ideas to help develop a pincer grasp:

  • Use tongs to pick up items
  • Set out a muffin pan and give the child small items to sort and place into the cups
  • Stickers – any activity that involves stickers helps practice the pincer grasp
    • Bigger stickers will be easier and small stickers will be more challenging
  • Hide small coins, beads, etc. in playdough and have the child get them out
  • String beads on a pipe cleaner
  • Any game involving clothespins
  • The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
  • Lite Brite
  • Mr. Ball

There are many different activities that work on the pincer grasp. Be creative and have fun!

Mr. Ball – Increase Hand Strength, Pincer Grasp & Coordination

Mr. Ball activities are great for working on:

  • Hand strength – helps develop the arches of the hand
  • Pincer grasp – picking up objects with thumb and fingertips
  • Translation skills – moving objects from the palm to the fingertips
  • Bilateral skills – using both hands together

How to make Mr. Ball:

  • Make a mouth by cutting a slit in the middle of a tennis ball using an utility knife (be careful!)
  • Decorate your Mr. Ball with googly eyes, hair, anything you want!
  • To make the activity easier – make the slit larger
  • To make the activity harder – make the slit shorter

Activity ideas:

  • Feed Mr. Ball by squeezing his mouth open with one hand and feeding him objects with the other hand:
    • Coins
    • Pom poms
    • Marbles
    • Buttons
    • Beads
    • Dried beans
    • Pieces of paper
  • Make Mr. Ball talk and play with other Mr. Balls

Ways to change the activity:

  • If it is too hard – place your hand on top of the childs and help them squeeze the ball
  • To work on translation skills – have the child pick up more than one object and feed Mr. Ball one object at a time
  • To work on colours – ask the child to pick up a certain colour object and feed it to Mr. Ball
  • To work on letters – use letter tiles/magnets and ask the child to feed Mr. Ball a certain letter
  • To work on counting – ask the child to feed Mr. Ball a certain number of objects
  • To add a resistive component – hide the coins in putty and have the child take it out before feeding it to Mr. Ball