|Babies||Walkers to 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Young children need to develop control and co-ordination of their fingers and gradually build strength in their hands. This control is of vital importance later when they will use their hand muscles to draw, write, cut and manipulate other tools. Babies need lots of practice to develop their finger control. Using objects that are small enough to be manipulated in a ‘pincer grip’ between thumb and forefinger will help them to develop this control.
- A variety of smaller props
- Some large containers
How it works
This activity would be aimed at getting babies to practice picking up and releasing objects that can be tricky as they are flatter than normal or have a tendency to roll.
What to do in the class
Scatter around where the babies are sitting a variety of objects which can be tricky to pick up. You could make it a really colourful kind of mess around them! Then they try to collect as many of the objects as they can to give to mum. Focus the mums on helping the babies pick up the objects, then pass them over and release them (after a little explore!) The lying babies could just try to grasp them and you could encourage mums to practice with their young babies giving and releasing. Good props would be:
- Large beads
- Ping pong balls
- Cotton reels
- Large pom poms (do not use the very small ones as they are a choke hazard)
- Pick up sticks or straws
Pick it up
Adaptations for younger babies
Very young babies are simply not capable of the pincer grip. Encourage Mums with the young babies to work on grasping objects with the whole hand. Ribbons dangled above a lying baby, A large bead or cotton reel tied to the end of a string and dangled is also effective. Small shakers with a small enough handle for the baby to grasp are also good.
What to do in a nursery setting
Have the babies sit is circle with the objects all around them. Take particular care with your selection of objects as babies will always tend to mouth to feel and object which can be a problem when they haven’t got one to one parental supervision.