We use a wide and varied range of grasps in everyday life. We hold, explore, and manipulate objects throughout the day. We use different grasps depending on the size and shape of the object, its use, or our own purpose. As said, there is a variety of ways to grasp things, from the pincer, to the tripod, to the lateral pinch. Some may be for strength, where others may be for delicate manipulation. Having this repertoire of grasps is important in all aspects of life, including work, play, and basic life skill performance.
There are factors that can hinder the development of said grasps, impeding overall development and leading to delays in academics, living skills, sensory processing, and the ability to effectively play. These factors might include decrease strength or endurance, or motor planning difficulties. All of these areas may be addressed through practice and prompting.
When attaching Noggins directly to the fingers of children, they transform the hand into a creature, allowing for imaginative play using various grasps. For example, if the Noggin is placed on the index finger, and the thumb becomes the lower jaw of the character, then the action of a pincer grasp is practiced. If the Noggin is placed across the index and middle fingers, with the thumb again being the lower jaw, then the action becomes a tripod grasp. Finally, if the Noggin is attached to the thumb, and a flexed index finger is the lower jaw, then the action is a lateral pinch. Three grasps may be addressed and practiced merely by altering the position of the Noggin.
The benefit of practicing these grasps in this fashion is that the child is no longer focused on planning and carrying out the movement. They become distracted by the imaginative play of using the Noggin puppet. The action is practiced every time the Noggin “eats”, “bites”, or “speaks”. This can be used for strengthening and endurance building as well, simply by changing what the Noggin is eating. Options could include paper, playdough, theraputty, or a variety of other materials with varying resistance.
When activities that develop movements, strengthen, and build endurance are play-based, they are more effective. Motivation is key.