The pincer grip is extremely useful - we use it in a host of everyday actions, from tying laces to picking up finger food.
When teachers talk about pincer grip, they mean the pressing together of the index finger and thumb. First developed around 12 months, it is used to pick up small objects. Think of that slow, deliberate effort to pick up finger food. Older children use the pincer grip in a host of everyday actions, from tying laces and putting hair slides in, to sticking down pieces of collage. And it is the forerunner of the tripod grip, which, with the addition of the middle finger, is how we grip a pencil. Encouraging early confidence and strength with their pincer grip, makes the complicated business of learning to write much easier for children.
Ideas for pincer grip practice:
- Sounds simple, but show them the pincer grip in action with your own fingers, using only your thumb and index finger to pick up small objects. Make it fun and have your pincers talk as if they were an animal or a monster. Then get your child to mimic/join in (be sure to keep your other fingers tucked firmly in, or it becomes a different kind of grip!)
- Finger food is a great way to encourage pincer grip without them noticing. Small foods like raisins, grapes and rice cakes need pincer grips to pick them up.
- Rolling balls of play dough between finger and thumb helps to develop greater control after the basic movement is accomplished.