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Tongs are a versatile fine motor finger skills tool that offer a wide variety of therapeutic benefits.  A favorite pediatric occupational therapy and teacher tool, tongs are just great for building pre-cutting and pre-writing skills, and for developing small hand muscles and finger strength that's needed for handwriting, grasping objects, and cutting with scissors.  Tongs also provide an excellent way to practice separating and using the 2-sides of the hand.  Below are some of our favorite ways to playfully incorporate tong practice into children's daily schedules! 

Sorting Activities - Sort beads, pom poms, sort and stack caps, porcupine balls, mini sorting shapes, mini figurines, and other types of manipulatives into egg cartons, muffin tins, paint palettes, sorting bowls, and other types of divided containers.  Sort objects by color, size, shape, texture, or other attributes. 

Board Games - Incorporate using tongs with playing board games:  Kids can use tongs to place the chips into the slots in Connect Four, pick up the pieces in Operation or Pick Up Sticks, or move pieces around the board while playing Monopoly, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Clue, Sorry, or other favorite family games. 

Baking - Decorate cupcakes and cookies using small tongs to place toppings like sprinkles, cherries, nuts, candy corn, etc.

Mealtimes - Tongs make great serving tools or eating utensils. Use them to serve salad, get hot toast out of the toaster, place toppings like shredded cheese or tomatoes on tacos (or onions on hotdogs and hamburgers), and to serve veggies/fruits/pasta.  Use fish/zoo sticks or chopspins for eating rice, salad, and fruits like strawberries, melon chunks, and apple slices.

Crafting - Tongs are great for craft activities that incorporate placing beads, pom poms, rhinestones, cotton balls, etc.

Catching Bugs and Bathtime Play - Use bubble tongs to catch and release spiders, grasshoppers, and other kid-friendly insects.  Bubble Tongs are great for bath play and putting Bath Beads and Bath Bombs into the tub!

Scavenger Hunts - Make a list of household or nature items, and have kiddos use tongs to place the items in their treasure bags.

Sensory Bins - Hide manipulatives in sensory bins (like rice, beans, water marbles, styrafoam peanuts, marshmallows, etc.) and have your child use a variety of tongs to find and retrieve them!  Visit our Pinterest site to get creative new ideas for unique sensory bins.

Snack Preparation - Cut up fruits like apples, lemons, watermelons, cantaloupes, or pears, and have your child use tongs to remove the seeds or strawberry hulls (our Teeny Weenie Tongs and Premo Teeny Weenie Tongs are great for that)!  Use tongs to scoop and serve snacks like popcorn, goldfish, cheezitz, hard candies, and candy corn.  Our wooden tongs are terrific for getting toast out of the toaster!

Fine Finger Skill Fun - Fill containers with manipulatives like pom poms to sort or put coins in a bank using tongs, have children place marbles on golf tees or place small objects into small openings like a water bottle or small slots in a shoebox.  Tongs are fun for stringing beads, sorting coins, and for water and sand table play.

Academic Activities - Have children use clips or clothespins (which are a great tong-like tool) to indicate their answers on multiple choice activities or letter recognition tasks.  See the Pinterest links below for some innovative clothespin activity ideas:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/588212401304939435/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/588212401306003749/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/588212401305798846

Pretend Play and other Playtime Activites:  Tongs are a favorite tool for pretend kitchens and play gardens, for placing marbles on marble runs, setting up domino tracks, feeding "goodies" to Moxy (our favorite big mouth fidget ball), for bug catching activities, and for shell or rock hunting fun at the beach.

Here are some of our very favorite tongs:

Not sure which to choose?  Try one of our Tongs and Tools Kits that contains a fun variety of our OTs' favorite tongs and tools:

Favorite games and play sets that incorporate tongs (or are a great choice for adding a tong component): 

– Therapy Shoppe® June 21, 2018

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