Snapping one’s jeans can be a very challenging tasks for kids with strength limitations. I typically work on snaps once buttons have been mastered. My classroom goal is for the kids to be able to snap by 6 years of age. Honestly, my son did not bother to snap and unsnap his jeans until maybe third grade. He had no rump and thus pulled his jeans up/down without unfastening.
I have 4 centers I use to help kids develop the skills needed to fasten snaps.
Center One – Strawberry Hullers
The strawberry huller develops the child’s pincer skills. It facilitates the ability to pinch the index and thumb together with force using the ends of the fingers. I have the child pick up and stack small blocks or dice. I have then put coins in a bank. Be sure to work both the left and right pincer muscles. Be sure the child’s thumb and index round to from a circle when pressing the ends of the huller together. The index and thumb nail almost touch as the child stacks the dice or puts the coins in the bank
Center Two – Jewelry Beads
Connecting jewelry beads to make strands of pop beads requires index and thumb strength as well as pressure control. Snapping is not all about strength. Precise touch is also needed to make sure the snaps remain aligned as your fingers press the fasteners together. Connecting small pop beads seems to work the same muscles.
Center Three – Penny Pulls
Penny Pulling is all about strength development. The child holds a penny between their index and thumb. The index and thumb round to form a circle with the finger nails almost touching the penny. The teacher then tries to “steal’ or pull the penny away from the child’s pincer grasp.
Center Four – Jeans, Shorts, Baby Clothing with Snaps
I do not let my students work on snapping on snapping boards. Snapping on a board teaches the child to push the snap together against a firm surface. You do not snap by pushing the snap into your belly. You snap by placing your index and thumbs on the edges of the snap and applying pressure. I have the students start with various snap clothing on tables (pinching the snap not pushing down) and then work up to snapping by holding the clothing next to their waist. You can apply a little lubricant to the snaps in your snap box to make the snap work a little easier. I find the cheapest and easiest snap clothing at goodwill shops.