Toodle O’s Pincer Grasp Activity

When our little guy was unexpectedly born 27 weeks into my pregnancy, we knew he’d most likely need some help meeting his milestones as he grew and we’re super lucky to now have a wonderful support team in place. One of the things we’ve been working on recently is his pincer grasp (picking up small objects between the pads of his thumb and forefinger), which is an important for all babies – preemie or not. His lovely physiotherapist recommended this super simple and effective activity using an ice cube tray and cereal, and Toodle O’s are just perfect for it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s how to play:

First off, choose a good time to try this activity. If your little one is hungry and ready for a meal, he’ll most likely get frustrated with having to retrieve one O at a time and want to just dump the entire ice cube tray over. If he’s just had a big meal, the motivation to retrieve the O’s from the tray might not be there… Somewhere in between usually works best for us.

If you’d like to secure the ice cube tray down to the highchair tray, you’ll want to do that first thing. We’ve had great luck with removable mounting squares and foamy double-sided tape on the underneath side of the ice cube tray, but you could also use regular tape over the top. Skipping the adhesive and just holding the tray in place if needed also works!

All right, now all you have to do is place a single Toodle O in each of the ice compartments and you’re ready to go. The small openings on the tray encourage using only the thumb and forefinger simply because there’s not enough space to use any more than that. Encourage your little one to retrieve and eat the O’s one by one and congratulate him on his successes along the way (clapping and dancing sprinkled in makes all activities SO much more fun!).

If you find that your munchkin really enjoys this activity, try serving an “ice cube tray meal” for extra practice. Instead of using Toodle O’s, simply fill the tray with small foods spanning the food groups (things like beans, steamed carrot coins and broccoli bits, small cheese cubes, and berries work perfectly) and call it lunch. Enjoy!