How To Strengthen Your Child's Pincer Grip

In recent years, teachers have explained how many Junior Infants will start school lacking in fine motor skills. Here's how to improve them.

Their pincer grip is not as developed as it should be, and they are struggling with tasks as simple as using a scissors.

They definitely put the majority of it down to one thing; screens.

With screens being such a massive part of children’s lives of late, it is having detrimental effects. 

Children are not as prepared physically or mentally for school and teachers are noticing a big change.

Children’s fine motor skills are not as developed as they should be at school starting age.

Fine Motor Skills are coordination of small muscles- usually a harmonisation of the hands and fingers with the eyes.

Here are some easy ways to help develop your little one’s fine motor skills at any age- it may even keep them busy long enough for you to enjoy a hot cup of tea!

Play Dough

Play dough is a great way to practice fine motor skills. It is also an opportunity to strengthen the muscles in their little hands. Ask them to roll the play dough into a ball and make holes in the ball with their index finger, this will help to strengthen their pincer grip.

Child stacking blocks
Children are not as prepared physically or mentally for school and teachers are noticing a big change.

Vertical drawing

Stick up some paper on the wall or fridge and let them draw or paint on it. If you have an easel even better. Painting or drawing in the position forces them to position the crayon or paintbrush correctly thus strengthening their pincer grip.


An age-old exercise but very effective. Pop some cheerios into a bowl and give them an empty bowl beside it. Ask your little one to move them one by one from one bowl to the next. Provided they are not eaten along the way, this will help them use their pincer muscles. 


Much like the above, fill a bowl with water and place beside it an empty bowl. Give your little one a sponge and have them soak the water from one bowl and squeeze it out into the empty bowl. This is a fantastic exercise to help strengthen the muscles in their hands in preparation for writing.


Another simple but effective exercise is to have your little one practice using a scissors. Get them a child friendly scissors and draw some zig zag lines on a page. Show them how to cut along the lines. In preparation for school, this is one of the best things you can do. (Adult supervision required.)

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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