Recommended Age: 2 and ½ to 3 and ½ years
Purpose: To build fine motor control and coordination and to strengthen the muscles in the child’s fingers and hand.
Level of Parent Involvement: Low, the adult must model the exercise for the child, once modelled the child may work independently.
- The child must be able to use their index finger and thumb to manipulate the tweezers to open and close.
- A tray
- A pair of tweezers (slanted or square tip tweezers are best for this exercise)
- Pom poms (available from art and craft stores, Kmart and target) OR other objects which can be picked up by tweezers such as buttons, pasta, cotton balls etc
- An ice cube tray
- A small bowl to keep the pom poms
- Place the ice cube tray, bowl and tweezers onto the tray
- Count how many spaces are in the tray and provide the corresponding amount of pom poms (or alternative objects) in the bowl (NOTE: ensure the objects which you use can fit easily in the space of the ice cube tray)
- Invite the child, letting them know that you have an activity to show them
- Show the child the tray with the materials, model how to carry the tray, the child may bring the tray to their table
- Have the child sit so that they are in full view of your dominant hand (if you are right-handed, have the child sit to your left)
- Name the materials on the tray (tweezers, bowl, ice cube tray, pom poms)
- Let the child know that you will be using the tweezers to pick up the pom poms and put one in each compartment of the ice cube tray
- Model how to pick up and hold the tweezers using your thumb and index finger
- Show the child how to squeeze the tweezers with your thumb and index finger to make the tweezers open and close
- In the same way use the tweezers to pick up a pom pom from the bowl, loosen your fingers grip on the tweezers to allow the pom pom to be placed into one of the compartments in the ice cube tray
- Repeat as above until all pom poms have been placed into the individual compartments of the ice cube tray
- Notice with the child that there are no more pom poms left in the bowl
- Show the child how to now pick up the pom poms with the tweezers from the ice cube tray and place them back in the bowl until the ice cube tray is empty
- Invite the child to have a turn, leave the child to work independently
- Let the child know where they can keep the activity when they are finished
- The child may use small tongs to transfer objects
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