The tripod grip uses the thumb and index finger along with the middle finger and is used for some of life’s most important tasks, from holding cutlery and drinking cups, to wiping surfaces and drawing.
The tripod grip uses the thumb and index finger along with the middle finger. It’s the most commonly used grip and is used for some of life’s most important tasks, from holding cutlery and drinking cups, to wiping surfaces and drawing. It’s also the grip that helps children maintain a straight-ish line when they start to write, as the middle finger guides the pencil across the page.
Helping your child to develop a good tripod grip will help them handle pencils and paintbrushes with greater ease, and develop general strength and fluidity of movement in their hands - all of which makes the transition to the classroom easier for everyone.
Some ideas for working on tripod grip:
- Scissors: cutting out snow-flakes for Christmas or strips for making paper-chains will give the whole hand - but especially the middle fingers - an excellent tripod grip work-out
- Leaf or coin rubbing: using fat crayons or chalks on their side requires the tripod grip
- Squirty toys: soft squirty balls or toys in the bath will build tripod grip strength while having lots of fun
- Remind your child to rest the pencil on the middle finger, rather than pressing it with the finger's tip. The middle finger is for support. The thumb and forefinger do all the work.
If your child is having trouble using just the middle and index fingers, remind them to press their ring and little fingers into the palm of their hand. It sometimes helps to press a small object, such as a rubber, between the outer two fingers and the palm to keep them tucked away.