Tongs – A simple way to improve grasp

One great way to develop hand skills is to use tongs.  Tongs help to strengthen the muscles used for cutting and help develop pencil grasp.  It is very easy to add tongs to many everyday games.  Kids love tongs and enjoy the challenge of using them to move items.

Start with tongs that are six to nine inches and easy to squeeze closed.  Tongs that are ~1/2  inch wide also make good starter tongs.  Progress to using thinner tongs and/or tong with more resistance.   It is important to keep looking at the hand.  The thumb needs to be rounded not depressed in at the joints.   The thin tongs need to be held with the ends of the fingers. This helps develop the correct muscles and improved control at the finger tips.

It makes no sense to use tongs with a poor grasp as you are just strengthening the wrong muscles.
 Anytime you question the look of the hand, try tongs with less resistance and/or ask the advice of an occupational therapist.

Start your tong activities by having the child move simple items into large containers  i.e. blocks in a bucket and progress to moving smaller objects into smaller openings i.e. pennies into a bank. Connect 4, Bed Bugs, Scatterpillar, Hungry Dog, Operation, Wok and Roll are all games that we use in my classroom to work on tong skills.

Here are examples of tongs you might want to try.


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