Practical Life: Using Tongs

Ages: 24+ months

Goal: To develop fine motor skills that lay the basis for the pincer grip used in writing.

Materials: work mat, tray, 2 identical containers, tongs (children’s size are ideal), objects to transfer


  1. Prepare the work and get out the mat.
  2. With the work facing the child and the mat between you, make sure the container with the objects is on the child’s left-hand side.
  3. Demonstrate the activity by using the tongs to transfer the objects (we used cotton balls here) from the first container to the second.
  4. Once all the objects are in the second container, begin transferring them back to the first container.
  5. Now, invite the child to pour the objects. Help only if the child doesn’t seem to know what to do.
  6. When he or she finishes, have them return the work to the shelf.

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