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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Games that refine the "pincer" grasp

Montessori made available many activities that promoted fine muscle development in the fingers and also reinforced the "pincer" grasp. These activities included scissor work, gluing, pasting, push-pin cut-outs, modeling with clay, transfer activities, etc. 

My son liked these activities and spent time with them when he was in practical life at a montessori school. However, it must not have been enough time, because his handwriting skills never seemed to develop. He was still "scribbling" letters in Kindergarten and first grade. 

Although children do develop skills in their own time frame, I also realized that he still wasn't grasping the pencil in a relaxed way and did not have the control over it that his younger sisters had. He would get very frustrated when he tried to put something in words and people could not read it. His motor skills were not matching intellectual development. I tried to offer the same activities that were offered in his practical life, but he did not seem interested in them as much anymore. He would do them a little, but not enough to really get in the needed practice.

I looked around for other activities that would help develop the pincer grasp and the fine motor skills.
Browsing the game section at Target, I couldn't believe that I had not thought of it before. Two of my favorite childhood games were perfect at developing this fine motor skill --- Operation and Light Bright!

My son really enjoys playing these games alone, with me, and his sisters. It's a fun activity for the whole family as well as addressing these physical development needs. I have seen improvement in his handwriting over the past few weeks...we still have a ways to go, but I see improvement and less frustration (which is the best part)!

I also came across a few other activities that reinforces the pincer grasp. I have tried the fish tank, the snow flake and the finger tug of war - and planning to do more:


  1. Popping over from MLC. My son struggles with writing as well. Maybe it's a boy thing? He's not quite 4 yet, so he has a little time. Maybe we'll give Operation a shot.

  2. Thanks for this post, my (just turned 4YO) son struggles with this also. Good excuse to buy Operation, which I used to love as a kid!

  3. Additional pincer grasp ideas and information here: