Friday, July 15, 2011

Montessori Knock-Off (Pincer Grip)

Practical Life is my favorite category under Montessori method, so much fun! 

A few days ago, under this category, we worked on fine motor skills- specifically  'pincer grip'. Pincer grip is the ability to pick up/manipulate objects using index finger and thumb. This helps the ability to hold a pencil/write.

Since we don't have a Montessori peg board (expensive), I found this cheap travel lite-brite that teaches the same thing (plus color sorting) . It was $1, it's safe (battery operated) and it's fun to see light up! I think this will get a few more years of use over a simple peg board too! 

It took my girl a few rounds of practicing (and some frustration) before she had it mastered. Now, this has become her favorite thing to do near bedtime.

Another thing we worked with were a pair of tongs. We had cherries that needed to be washed before snack time, so we used those. The activity was to transfer the cherries from the bowl of water to the dry bowl, using the tongs. This was a bit of a struggle for her, but after several attempts she was able to get a couple (she was so excited!).

This tong exercise was a bit easier for her, since we used cotton balls (they stick together making large clumps).  I keep this in our master bath (keeps her busy for a few minutes while I shower). She transfers the cotton balls around between each compartment.

If you read this bog, by now you know my affinity for buying things on the cheap for stuff like this. This hawaii wood bowl was only $1.50 at a thrift store (SEE, SEE!)

Your local thrift stores have all sorts of sectioned bowls & trays for cheap (and baskets too). No need to buy them from a Montessori supply.

There are so many great resources available online showing you how to develop and strengthen pincer grasp via different activities/games. Here's a great list by  Therapy Street Kids:

Pinch strengthening and control  
  • Tongs, tweezers, connected chop sticks, strawberry hullers: use these to pick up small objects for sorting, such as beads, marbles, beans, pompoms and cotton balls.
  • corn cob holders, toothpicks or large push pins (thumb tacks): Place a picture over a sheet of craft foam or cork board (or trivet). Then use the push pin or corn cob prongs to punch holes along the lines of a picture. Hold it up to let the light shine through.
  • place coins or bingo chips in narrow slots; a piggy bank is perfect, Connect Four game
  • eye droppers: make colorful dribble art creations by placing drops of colored water on a paper towel or coffee filter
  • spinning tops
  • geoboards: make shapes and letters using rubber bands on geoboards
  • pick-up sticks, Jenga, Don't Spill the Beanswind up toys
  • pegboard activities
  • Tiddly winks games, Ants in the Pants
  • Tong games: Operation, Crocodile Dentist, Bedbugs
  • Ziploc bags: encourage using fingertips to press and seal
  • Buttoning, snapping
  • pop beads
  • stringing beads
  • peel stamps and stickers
  • crumple small bits of tissue paper using fingertips, dip in glue and paste onto a paper plate or paper to make a flower bouquet
  • tear small pieces of paper with finger tips and paste them onto a sheet of paper to make a picture
  • Push a toothpick point into a Styrofoam tray or plate, or in aluminum foil placed over craft foam or cork board to make a picture.
  • Dress up dolls: requires a surprising amount of hand strength and endurance
  • Clothespins (open them and clamp them around edge of bowl)


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