Tweezing is one of the last exercises within the Montessori Practical Life Basic Exercises sequence. Using tweezers is a phenomenal way to hone fine motor skills and to work on the 3 finger grip.
In addition, transferring from left to right prepares the brain for reading and writing later in development. The only prerequisites for this activity are the tray & chair procedures introduced at that start of the child's experience in the early childhood classroom.
Fine Motor Exercise for Preschoolers – Tweezing
The appropriate age for this activity is a wide range, 3 – 6 years old. The reason for this wide range is that you can use a lot of variation with types of tweezers and objects to transfer. For example, using a clothespin is different from using small tweezers. Furthermore, you can use small flowers or pom poms as a transfer object, which might be a bit easier for the child than using a small bead or bean.
Materials needed for this exercise include small tongs or tweezers (or some variation), objects to transfer, two identical bowls with one bowl filled with 10 of the dry objects.
- Carry tray from shelf to table. Identify objects on tray. “This bowl has objects in it. This bowl is empty.”
- “This is a flower.”
- “Tongs.” Pick up tongs with dominant hands. Fingers on one side and thumb on the other. “Open. Close” Allow child an opportunity to open and close tongs.
- After child has had a turn and replaces tongs onto tray, in silence, pick up tongs and move objects from left to right bowl.
- Gently and silently continue to transfer objects until no objects remain.
- Repeat procedure, placing objects into original bowl.
- Place tongs on tray. “Would you like a turn?” Return tray to shelf.
Control of Error:
- Objects filling container
- Tongs opening and closing
Points of Interest:
- Exploring tongs
- Watching tongs open & close
- Seeing objects drop into the bowl
- Finding the right-hand position on the tongs
Preparation of reading & writing
tongs, open, close, full, empty, names of objects transferring
Montessori Practical Life: Refined Tweezing
Montessori Practical Life's Refined Tweezing Lesson continues fine motor development of the younger children in the Montessori classroom. I like to use a strawberry huller but there are other “tweezing” tools great for this work. Be creative with your refined tweezing tray!
Refined Tweezing Lesson
- Ask child if he would like to try something new with tweezing today and bring him to the shelf to remove the tray.
- Identify the items on the tray. “This is a pitcher. This is a pitcher. This is a bowl with stones.”
- “This is a huller.” Fingers on one side and thumb on the other in the designated “finger” spots.
- Demonstrate open and close. “Open. Close”
- Ask child is he would like to try the hullers.
- Pick up hullers with fingers on one side and thumb on the other and sort objects into respective pitchers. Slowly. Taking time to pause to hear the sound of the stones as they drop into the pitchers.
- Pour stones back into bowl on left. If possible, use hullers (or tweezing instrument) to replaced into bowl.
Refined Tweezing Materials
I really like the Montessori Service Small Tongs Activities Set. The set offers a variety of transferring objects and tools. Everything you would need for your home or classroom.