Image by: Travis Juntara

Pick 'em Up

Age Range
3-6 yrs
Setup Time
Under a minute!
Setup Location

A pincer grasp enables the young child to feed him/herself by being able to pick up small bits of food and place food in the mouth with ease. Prior to this, the child was only able to hold food within the palm of the hand after being raked into the palm by the fingers. The pincer grasp allows for a more refined and neater way to get food into the mouth. Over time, the child will be using this pincer grasp for other important tasks, such as fastening closures (zippers, snaps, buttons) on garments easily, using scissors, manipulating small items within the hand (e.g., transferring coins within the palm out to the fingertips and holding pencils, crayons and markers with a 3 or 4 finger tip pinch.

This activity will strengthen your child's muscles, as he practices using the pincer grasp and gains strength to pick heavier items !


  1. Give your child a pair of tweezers or small tongs and two cups

  2. Put some cotton balls, large pieces of macaroni, or large beans or M&Ms into one of the cups and have your child pick them up with the tweezers and put them into the other cup

  3. Once your child can do this, make it more exciting by having a race. Do it fast. Ready, steady, go!

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.