What is Pincer Grasp?
Pincer grasp is the ability to grab objects with the thumb and forefinger. This milestone is typically met between 9-10 months of age, however this can vary as all children develop at different rates.
While the pincer grasp is most often observed as babies begin feeding themselves finger foods, babies can and are practicing this skill all the time!
Why is Pincer Grasp Important?
As your child grows older they will use their pincer grasp for holding utensils and pencils and other skills such as dressing themselves with clothes that have buttons, zippers, and snaps.
Not only is developing the pincer grasp important for your baby’s fine motor development, but it aids in his or her independence, and it is fun to play and explore with a variety of toys and household objects!
Keep reading for 5 EASY ways to practice pincer grasp with your baby!
1. Self-Feeding Fun
Babies typically begin their transition to solid foods around 6 months of age. When you notice your baby wanting to feed themselves or by picking up toys and bringing them to their mouths, they are already working on their pincer grasp.
Layla’s favorite treat is Organic Puffs and they provide a great incentive for practicing her pincer grasp. Other food options she loves include small pieces of fruit, meatballs, yogurt melts, and cheese.
Let your baby show off his independence with his food by placing pieces all over his high chair and watch him play, explore, and eat.
I recommend Silicone Baby Bibs with Pockets to catch any food that doesn’t quite reach baby’s mouth. Added bonus, they can use their pincer grasp to retrieve any food that falls into the pocket!
(Remember to introduce food items to your child based on your doctor’s direction)
Other fun ways to practice pincer grasp with food include:
Ice Cube Trays
Place one puff or one piece of food into the individual compartments of the ice cube tray and watch your baby have fun trying to grasp at each little piece.
You may need to hold the bottom of the tray for support or you can almost guarantee the entire tray (and all the food!) may go flying. You can use a traditional ice cube tray or you can try trays with fun shapes and different sizes.
Similar to ice cube trays, egg cartons are a great tool to practice pincer grasp. In addition, your child gets early exposure to one-to-one correspondence, an early math skill that involves counting each object in a set only once.
Candy molds are another perfect way to provide your baby with various sizes, shapes, and colors to practice his or her pincer grasp. Bonus- as soon as your baby is old enough you can use them to make special treats!
2. Peeling Tape
Peeling tape is a mess free activity that requires concentration, hand-eye coordination, and of course, the pincer grasp! We love using colorful washi tape.
This activity can be done in your baby’s high chair, on a window or mirror, or any hard, clean surface that your baby can safely reach.
3. Pulling Tissues
A fun and simple activity that only requires a box of tissues! While your baby may try to pull the tissues with her whole fist (or even her mouth), model the correct way to pull with your forefinger and thumb.
This activity is perfect for a rainy day or if you need a few minutes to relax. You can place the tissues back in the box or in a bag to reuse.
4. Page Turner
Introducing books to your infant at a young age has many benefits. Early exposure to words, pictures, and oral language stimulates your little one’s cognitive skills.
An additional benefit includes using your pincer grasp while reading! Start with board books with thick pages and transition to books with thinner pages. Slowly turn the pages to show you baby how it’s done.
5. Toys, Toys, Toys
For specific products, check out our Pincer Grasp Toys Buying Guide for Babies. (coming soon!)
If your infant has mastered these skills, check out our 5 Easy Ways to Practice Pincer Grasp for Toddlers. (coming soon!)