All About Babies Grasping The Pincer Grasp

4 January 2023

Sure, it’s exciting to see your baby reach major milestones like crawling, walking, and talking, but another one to keep your eye out for is their development of the pincer grasp! This fine motor skill will assist them with eating, colouring, dressing themselves, and much more, so it’s certainly a cause for celebration.

We’re breaking down everything you need to know about the pincer grasp, including some activities that can encourage your baby to practice it, below!

What is the pincer grasp?

The pincer grasp is the fine motor skill of being able to hold something between your index finger and thumb. While it sounds like a small accomplishment, it can actually take a lot of practice to master this important movement as it takes a bit of coordination between their brain and their bodies. But once they get the hang of it, it’s this grasp that will allow them to pick up small objects, feed themselves, hold crayons, zip their own jacket, and more.

When will my baby develop the pincer grasp?

As with all developmental milestones, your baby will develop their pincer grasp at their own pace! You may notice your little one start to clumsily use their pincer grasp at anywhere from 9-12 months while starting solids or playing with toys.

At first, your little one might use their index finger and thumb to pick something up, and then immediately drop it or throw it. With more and more practice, you’ll catch your little one using their pincer grasp to successfully pick up and put down objects.

What activities can help develop the pincer grasp?

In most cases, your baby will develop their pincer grasp all on their own! Many everyday tasks like eating food with their hands, turning pages of books, and just grasping at something that catches their interest will be what encourages this fine motor skill.

However, if you’re interested in helping your toddler master their pincer grasp, here are some purposeful play ideas:

  • Knob handle puzzles: Matching and maneuvering puzzle pieces can certainly help develop the pincer grasp, as they’ll eventually start holding the knobs with their index finger and thumb.
  • Building blacks: When playing with blocks, the smaller the blocks are, the more often your little one may start trying to use their pincer grasp to pick them up.
  • Pull toys: Using the string of pull toys can help encourage pincer grasp use, even if your baby isn’t walking yet.
  • Self-feeding: While this isn’t play, self-feeding helps to develop the pincer grasp when they pinch food and bring it to their mouth.
  • Reading: Turning the pages of books can help develop the pincer grasp. Start with board books and then move to thinner paged books!
  • Play dough: With this play activity, they’ll be using their hands to work the dough into shapes or just pinch at it with their fingers.
  • Stickers: Peeling stickers from a book and sticking them down is always great pincer grasp practice.
  • Tweezers/Chopsticks: These tools will help work out the muscles in your little ones’ hands, which can help make their pincer grasp stronger.


The pincer grasp is a less recognised, but still super important (and exciting) part of your baby’s development! With more and more practice, they’ll start to perfect this fine motor skill and soon enough, they’ll be able to draw, eat, dress themselves and more.

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