25 of the best Pincer Grasp Activities for Preschoolers

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Are you on the hunt for ideas to help your little ones work on their fine motor skills? I’ve put together a list of 25 fun and easy pincer grasp activities for preschoolers.

Some kids need a little extra love and support to strengthen their pincer grasp, you know,…..the ability to hold and manipulate stuff with their thumb and index finger. Trust me, these activities are not only super engaging but also designed to give those tiny hands the practice they need to become fine motor masters!

The best pincer grasp activities for preschoolers - a picture of colorful wooden clothespin clips clipped on a length of twine.

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Why Is the Pincer Grasp Important

The pincer grasp plays an important role in life. Let’s take a look at how it helps kids with life skills as well as how it helps them in the school setting.

Pincer Grasp and Self-Help Skills

Let’s talk about independence and self-help skills….the pincer grasp is the essential skill kids need to tackle everyday tasks with autonomy. Think about it: when they can use their thumb and index finger to button their shirts, zip up their jackets, or open a food container, they’re gaining a sense of control over their own lives. They’re not relying on us for every little thing anymore. And that’s a beautiful thing, right?

Pincer Grasp and School Readiness Skills

The pincer grasp is also an essential fine motor skill when it comes to getting kiddos ready for school. As they fine-tune their pincer grasp, kids are actually prepping themselves for future academic success. When they can hold and control a pencil, they’re ready to take on writing, tracing, and drawing activities with confidence.

That means that working on the pincer grasp now is like building the foundation for pre-writing skills and handwriting. Now that you know why it’s important to develop a good pincer grasp. Let’s take a look at LOTS of fun ways to help kids build a good, strong pincer grasp that will serve them well.

Tearing Paper Activities

Teachers always tell me how much fun their kids have with tearing paper activities. When kids tear paper, they use their thumb and index finger in a coordinated pinch motion, working those muscles and giving their pincer grasp a serious workout.

paper tearing activities to build fine motor skills. The picture collage includes a torn paper snowflake activity, a truck image, a torn paper rainbow craft, a balloon alphabet torn paper worksheet, a shark, and a paper tearing Valentines day craft. An example of the best pincer grasp activities for preschoolers.

In addition to tearing paper activities, crumbling paper helps build those little hands. Use the balls of crumbled paper for games, or as stamps in art activities.

Pincer Grasp Activities with Eyedroppers

Using eyedroppers in activities is a great way to help kids develop their pincer grasp, as it requires them to use their thumb and index finger to operate the dropper. You can do painting activities with eyedroppers or include them as part of your science center.

eyedropper painting is a great art and fine motor activity - an example of pincer grasp activities for preschoolers.

Sticker Activities

When they peel stickers with their thumb and index finger, they’re actually strengthening their fine motor skills and boosting their hand coordination. Stop by this article about dot sticker activities to find LOADS of fun and motivating sticker ideas and pincer grasp activities for your kids.

blue dot sticker task cards with a variety of colorful dot stickers - an example of dot sticker activities for fine motor skills and pincer grasp activities.

Bead Activities

Picking up and placing pony beads is a great exercise for those little fingers. Kids can place beads on pictures in circles, or they can sort them into muffin trays or ice-cube trays.

Threading Beads to make necklaces, bracelets, or patterns, is also a fun activity for your kids.

In place of beads, you can also cut up straws. Stick toothpicks into playdough or foam and make towers with beads or straws. You can find more activities like this in my article about dollar store fine motor activities.

Toothpicks stuck in playdough. Kids have stacked cut pieces of straws onto the toothpicks. This is an idea for inexpensive dollar store preschool activities and pincer grasp activities for preschoolers.

Clothespin Activities

You can make simple color-matching clothespin activities for your kids with colored paper and clothespins. Kids can hang their artwork on a clothesline with clothespin clips.

There are also TONS of fun clothespin learning activities out there for kids so they can learn while they build their fine motor skills.

They can build little muscles in their fingers while you teach the letters of the alphabet.

Count and clip cards are a super math activity that supports pincer grip development.

A task box filled with counting clip cards and clothespin clips. This is an example of good pincer grasp activities for preschoolers.

Tweezer Activities

Tweezer activities are an incredible way to help kids refine their pincer grasp, as they can use tweezers to pick up and sort pom-poms, mini erasers, or other manipulatives.

Similar to tweezers, these little tongs are called strawberry hullers. They are perfectly sized for little hands.

forming letters with mini-erasers

Playdough Pinching

Playing with playdough provides a great workout for little hands. Encourage your kids to pinch playdough to strengthen that grip between the thumb and index finger.

purple, yellow, and orange playdough on a blue tray.  A child has rolled a coil of purple playdough and pinched it along the coil - an example of pincer grasp activities.

Buttoning Activities

Buttoning is an example of a self-help skill, and it is often a skill that is tricky for kids. I love these felt button chain activities from Tips From A Typical Mom Blog to give kids lots of extra practice.

Geoboards

When using geoboards, you have to grasp a rubberband securely so that it doesn’t go flying across the room. Check out this fun collection of geoboard activities from Fun-a-day.

Using Small Writing Tools

Did you know that using short or small writing tools like broken crayons or golf pencils can be a game-changer in building kids’ pincer grasp? When children work with shorter or smaller writing tools, they have to engage their thumb and fingers more actively, encouraging a refined pincer grasp grip. By holding these tools closer to the tip, they naturally develop the ability to control and manipulate them with greater precision.

a bunch of colorful broken crayons used for drawing to build pincer grasp

Lacing Activities

Lacing activities require kids to have enough precision with their pincer grasp to poke yarn or string through a hole. You can make a simple shape lacing activity by punching holes around the perimeter of cardboard shapes.

Here is a fun spider web lacing activity for a creepy crawly twist on the fine motor activity. To make this spider web fine motor activity punch holes along the edge of a paper plate and tie a length of string to one of the holes. kids can lace the string through the holes.

a spider theme craft is a fine motor activity for fall and a great pincer grasp activity for kids.  Fuzzy white yarn is laced on a black paper plate to form a spider web and spider rings are attached.

Opening and Closing Containers with Lids

You can create lots of fun fine motor activities from dollar store purchases. Pick up some small plastic containers from the dollar store. Use them for sorting mini erasers, beads, and even plastic bugs.

A small plastic divided container with small plastic bugs. An example of inexpensive dollar store preschool ideas for your classroom and pincer grasp activities for preschoolers.

Toys and Games for Developing Pincer Grasp

You can also keep pincer grasp development in mind when selecting toys for kids. There are lots of great fine motor toys out there. Here are some of the best pincer grasp toys for 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, and 5-year-olds that will help strengthen their grasp.

Wind-up Toys

Wind-up toys are awesome for kids! I picked up these wind-up toys in the Target Dollar Spot, and you can also find them at party stores. When kids wind the mechanism, it helps their pincer grasp and boosts hand-eye coordination. Plus it’s a great way to teach cause and effect.

Wind-up toys used for pincer grasp activities.

Squeeze Toys

Things might get silly with these little eye-popping animal keychains. The little toys provide lots of motivation to get those pincer fingers working.

These pea poppers encourage kids to squeeze the pod until a pea pops out. What will they think of next….right?

Light Brite

Light Brite is a classic. Not only does grasping the little pegs help kids develop their grasp, but it is a great sensory activity.

Legos

Here’s another classic. Let your kids’ creativity go wild with legos. I love buying extra wheels, axles, and other car parts in bulk at the Lego Store to let kids wear creative vehicles.

Hi Ho Cherry-O

While playing Hi Ho CHerry-O, kids have to pick up and place small cherries in their baskets.

Printable Resources to Help with Pincer Grasp

Are you ready to get your kids started with some pincer grasp activities? Here are some printables in my store that will help you out. Click on the image to check them out.

dot sticker task card bundle
dot sticker strip fine motor activity bundle
dot sticker activities number book

Purchase on TPT

Do you prefer to shop at Teachers Pay Teachers? You can also purchase the pincer grasp resources in my TPT Store.

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