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Pincer grip

What is a pincer grip?

It’s a developmental milestone that’s normally formed using the thumb and index finger. A pincer grip allows you to pick up small objects.

It usually develops in children between the ages of 10 and 13 months.

How to help your child develop their pincer grip

When doing pincer grip activities, make sure your child uses their fingertips to develop hand strengthening. Hyper extension of the fingertips encourages joint and muscle mobility.

Activity ideas for your child


  • spinning tops and wind up toys
  • Pick-up Sticks, Jenga, Don’t Spill the Beans
  • Tiddly winks, ants in the pants
  • board games that involve tongs, for example, Operation, Crocodile Dentist and Beadbugs
  • pegboard activities, for example, Lite Brite
  • Connect Four or placing coins in a piggy bank.


  • stringing beads
  • peeling stamps and stickers
  • crumpling small bits of tissue paper using their fingertips, dipping the paper in glue and pasting it onto a paper plate or paper to make a flower bouquet
  • tearing small pieces of paper with their fingertips and pasting the paper onto card (or paper) to make a picture.

Further ideas

These include:

  • using tongs, tweezers or connected chop sticks to pick up small objects for sorting, for example beads, marbles, beans, pompoms and cotton balls
  • pressing and sealing zip bags
  • buttoning and snapping pop beads
  • dressing dolls which requires a surprising amount of hand strength and endurance.