Tweezers – This OT’s Favorite Tool for Developing Fine Motors Skills


I have all these beauty gadgets that I used religiously before having kids. I’m sure that you, like me, find little time to use them these days. I have a new purpose for your old tweezers this season: developing fine motor skills. 

Pulling Corn Kernelsdeveloping fine motor skills

Its tedious work, it’s gratifying, it’s really an activity for kids. But, the adults just can’t stop either.

My mother-in-law likes to decorate her property with corn stalks in fall. Every year, I like to pull a cob or two off and give them to my preschooler for “work”. Some people find pretty Indian Corn to display on their door or table. Hidden in that dried corn cob is loads of kernels, just waiting to be pulled out.

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I often use seasonal items in my therapy sessions, and this one’s a keeper. With the tweezers in the proper position, kids are working on their dexterity (hand skills) to squeeze as well as their intrinsic strength (those muscles close to the palm) as they pull the kernel from the cob. There’s bilateral skill work as they turn and position the cob and transfer the kernel into the container. Using tweezers is a great fine motor task that works on underlying hand skills for grasp development – learning how to hold a pen or pencil properly.

Similarly, tools I like to use in therapy sessions include: toast tongs, salad tongs, clothespins, strawberry hullers, chopsticks, long-handled reacher, and animal head grabbers. Some days, I feel like I can make a game out of anything to get kids to use tweezers! We feed animals with torn up pieces of paper, sort Lego pieces, transfer pom-poms between cups, and place beads on pipe cleaners. Even snack time can takes on a new focus when you’re trying to eat Goldfish crackers or blueberries without dropping them.

developing fine motor skills

If you can get your hands on a sunflower, you can use tweezers to remove dried seeds there too.

Honestly, I wish I had more time to myself to shape my eyebrows. Alas, my children are reaping the benefits of my lack of grooming. The next time you’re tempted to toss those kitchen accessories or beauty tools, think about how else they can be used! Kids love playing with these random gadgets and most of them are fantastic for developing fine motor skills.