Your tiny handed humans need to use tiny tools! As the adult, you can model the proper way to use the tools and even narrate how you use them. Tiny hands can naturally create proper grip for many tools. Take a moment to think about how they pick up Cheerios, for instance. Tiny humans look to their very important grown-ups for everything in their world, so why not use these tips to help them become successful with their first use of tools?
Everywhere we look, we see items specifically designed to help build fine motor skills for our little ones. From eating utensils to writing utensils, the littlest hands are being asked to use oversized items. These items are great to help prevent choking. They also give adults a little extra material to grab onto when they end up on the ground. However, they are doing the opposite of their intentions for young hands. Imagine if your cell phone was the size of an iPad? That is what jumbo size crayons are to three-year-old hands – useful but not practical. So what does this all mean?
When we give oversized items to little hands, we are asking them to go from using their fingertips to their palm. Think about how two-year-olds use spoons. Their hands wrap all the way around the handle, with the spoon portion of it towards their thumbs. Then think about how four-year-olds use spoons. Their grip on the spoon looks more like holding a crayon or pencil. Oftentimes, by four, children are starting to use regular silverware instead of baby items. The same thing goes for crayons. If we want our young children to learn to use tools in the most effective and efficient way possible, there is a simple solution.