Skip to main content

Pincer Grip - Preparing for Language Work

I've gotten so many questions about how we are approaching language work with Gus now that he is three. And, I promise that I will outline that work more carefully in the coming weeks. But before I did that I wanted to talk about one of the most fundamental things that I am working with him at home to prepare for future language work - the pincer grasp. 


Now, this isn't something that he just started working on at 3 or even 2, this is something he has been slowly working on since he was a baby. From grabbing little pieces of food to using his pincer block, it's been on my mind to make sure that we are offering opportunities to develop the muscles in his hand. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

But...Why

This article on Montessori Daoshi does a really good job explaining. But, basically we don't want to just hand a child a pencil and expect them to write. We are offering opportunities to refine their grasp so that when that pencil is finally given to them, they don't have to work hard to hold it, but they can work hard on expressing themselves with it.

But, Maria Montessori herself was also very clear about the importance of the hand. This is reflected in the opportunities that the classroom provides, but also in her words. She said, "the first intelligent moving of these tiny hands, the first thrust of movement which represents the effort of the ego to penetrate the world should fill and adult's mind with admiration." (Secret of Childhood) Further (about 3 year olds) she says, "it is now the hand that becomes the direct organ of intellectual prehension, and the child develops by working with his hands instead of walking about. The child at this age is continuously at work; happy and light-hearted if always busy with his hands." (Education for a New World

With What...

Knowing that the pincer grip is important, adding some work to our shelves helps to refine this skill that they have been working at. Dr. Montessori said, "But the work of tiny hands which are the first stammerings of a man at work require "incentives to activity" in the form of objects which correspond to his desire to work." (Secret of Childhood)

There are so many things that help to work on pincer grip throughout early childhood. So many that if you want additional ideas, I can write another post with a list - let me know in the comments if that is helpful! But here I just wanted to share a few things that we've been using with Gus at this age.

I've made a couple of easy trays lately for Gus that encourage pincer grip. 
  • Small tongs: The first is just moving small baseball beads (similar) from one small bowl to another with a small tong that encourages a thumb and index finger to pinch. 
  • Threading: This is a simple threading material on his shelf with a blunt embroidery needle with some small butterfly beads {similar}  
  • Pinching: This is just for using a pinching motion to move the same baseball beads into a jar with a small opening. This encourages that pincer grip since other grips will make it difficult to get the beads into the hole. 


There are also some great more mainstream toys that can help to develop the pincer grip too. Gus has been enjoying a lot of coloring lately, pin punching, the lite-bright, and smaller knobbed puzzles - all of which encourage using a pincer grip. 

Again, there are so many things we can do to meet this need. I hope this serves as a reminder to keep it as an option when thinking about your child's language work. 

---

Comments

Marii said…
I would definitely appreciate a list of activities to do to help develop the pincer grip!
Alissa said…
Thank you again Nicole for your wonderful insights. This is so timely for me and my 3-year-old right now, and I'd love to see a longer list for pincher grip activities!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique