Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Young children need to develop control and co-ordination of their fingers and gradually build strength in their hands. This control is of vital importance later when they will use their hand muscles to draw, write, cut and manipulate other tools. Babies usually develop control of their fingers and hands before they can talk, so can learn finger actions to rhymes even before they can say the words.

Equipment required

  • Prop of choice from list below (or a selection of them per child in class)
  • Background music


One to two weeks

How it works

This activity aims encourage babies to twist, push or turn objects

What to do in the class

Explain to the parents that the purpose of the exercise is to develop finger control. Either use the same prop for all, or alternatively provide a selection of toys that can be used to promote finger manipulation.

  • Articulated snakes
  • Puzzle snake – like rubiks cubes and shapes (rubiks snake)
  • Twisty instruments and rattles
  • Children’s toys with twisting turning bits
  • Plastic bottles with twisting tops
  • Twisty toy caterpillar
  • Spinning tops
  • Anything with push buttons
  • Toy keyboards

Training Video

Manipulation Toys-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


Plastic pegs can also be good to manipulate. Provide a few in a plastic spread container and get the children to so if they can attach them to the edges.

Another good activity for older children is to provide them with small tubes like jumbo straws and teach them to ‘walk’ their fingers up and down it.