BABY'S HANDS: USEFUL EVERY DAY FOR A LIFETIME.

MAGNIFICENTCHILDREN.LOVE

 

GROW YOUR MAGNIFICENT CHILD

 

 

CHAPTER 32

 

 

LEVEL 5:

 

BABY’S HANDS: USEFUL EVERY DAY FOR A LIFETIME: Baby’s hand use and manual development.

 

 

 

Toddler’s OMSDEP: Her hand use and manual development intentions: 

 

  • To do one thing with one hand while she does something else with the other.

 

 

Doing two things at once:

 

As described below there are two particularly important natural developments for toddler at this Level. Firstly, she begins to perfect using her visual, tactile and manual skills together. Secondly, she begins to perfect using her hands to do two different tasks at the same time. 

 

  1. Perfecting the combined use of her visual, tactile and manual skills.

 

At this level of development toddler is perfecting how she can use her visual, tactile and manual skills together. While she looks at what she is doing with her eyes, she feels what she is doing with her sense of touch and her brain instructs her hands and fingers how to move to accomplish what she wants to do. The more her brain naturally develops and learns how to properly instruct each hand to move, pick-up, let go, probe and test temperature and texture the more her brain naturally develops and learns about how she can use one hand to do one thing while the other hand does something else. 

 

As part of this learning and brain development process toddler begins to use visual and tactile information to do manual work with one hand while using only tactile information to do manual work with the other hand. 

 

  1. Using her hands to do two different tasks at the same time. 

 

Toddler will become very active with her hands at this level. She will more and more often attempt to do one thing with her right hand while she does another thing with her left hand. This sometimes leads to spills, dropping, accidents and breakage and she needs support, encouragement, and a loving  environment in which she can safely continue to develop and learn. 

 

Doing two things at once:

 

As adults we naturally do what toddler is now trying and learning to do when we hold a mug in one hand and pour into it from a jug held in the other hand. Or when we hold fabric in one hand while we sew it with a needle in the other. We also open doors with one hand while we hold a book or bag in the other, cut with a knife while holding with a fork, control a steering wheel while changing gears in a car, screw off a cap while holding a jar, hold down selected strings on a guitar or violin while we pluck or bow, and surgeons adjust the position of flesh or organs with one hand while they cut with a scalpel in the other… We do all of these things while watching with our eyes, feeling with the tactile nerves that are spread through our hands, fingers and the rest of our bodies and by holding with our fingers and hands. Toddler is now learning about how we do all these things at once; and her brain is naturally developing (that is growing and structuring itself) and learning so that she to can do all these things at once. Her OMSDEP at this Level is to use every opportunity she has to do one thing with one hand while she does something else with the other. 

 

Pouring, picking up and putting down games:

 

Toddler particularly enjoys perfecting her development at this level by playing games such as pouring water and picking up and putting down objects. Four ways you can help her with her OMSDEP are: 

 

  1. By providing opportunities for her to pick up and put down objects using both hands at the same time. 

 

  1. By helping her to pour water from one container into another. At first she can pour water into a container that has been placed on the floor, a bench-top or some other solid surface. Eventually, in perhaps 18 months time, she can use one hand to pour and one hand to hold the container into which the water is poured.  

 

  1. By continuing to swing her on your fingers, a bar or trapeze. These activities maintain strength in her fingers, hands and brain function and give her the power to perform more complex tasks. While she holds onto your fingers, a bar or trapeze with both hands she has to keep both hands holding on well at the same time. 

 

  1. By helping her to brachiate. When she reaches out to hold another bar while holding one bar with the other hand she is using her hands to do two different jobs at the same time. 

 

Activities for keen hands:

 

At this Level parents provide toddler with objects such as toy trucks and large dolls to place into cardboard boxes or other containers. One enjoyable and practical way to do this activity is to have several enjoyable tidy-up times each day when parent and toddler help each other to put toys and other objects back into a toy-box. This activity has the added advantage that toddler learns to periodically tidy up her play area. Magnificent parents also play games with their children that involve placing a variety of objects into and taking them out of the boxes. As well as having fun, the parent’s objective is to encourage toddler to use both hands to lift the objects into or out of the box.  

 

When toddler can place the objects into and take them out of a large box using both hands a smaller box is used and smaller objects are used. Items such as ten short pieces of rope (about 500mm long) laid flat and straight, which encourage use of two hands, are well suited to this game. 

 

As toddler becomes more competent at using her hands to do two different things at once containers of ever decreasing size are used and smaller objects are used to place into or take out of the smaller containers. 

 

Eventually toddler will be using a small container that she can hold in one hand and carry or drag across the floor while she picks up objects to place into it. Marbles (about 18 to 20mm in diameter) or similarly sized small wood blocks for now, and small beads in the near future, are very useful at this stage. It is important, of course, to be able to supervise toddler and ensure that she does not place small objects in her mouth, nose or ears. She will also likely enjoy pouring marbles from one container into another. 

 

Games such as being a train, which travels to stations around the room and picks up loads of small objects at each station, are ideal and fun at this Level.

 

More activities that encourage each hand to act independently:

 

Frequently involve toddler in putting away and unpacking playthings. Treat packing and unpacking as enjoyable games and avoid taking over and doing the packing and unpacking for her. 

 

Put toddler in charge of unwrapping parcels and opening letters; while you assist if required.

 

Frequently play the game of screwing tops on and off bottles. You can place an item into a jar and toddler can open the jar to get the item out. You can then encourage her to screw the top back on.

 

Encourage toddler to draw. Read the book Magnificent Drawing and commence the Magnificent Drawing activities. 

 

The pencil grip:

 

If toddler picks up a pencil to do writing or drawing always place it into the correct holding position in her hand. Do this in the hand in which she is holding the pencil; either left or right. She will eventually decide if she is naturally left or right handed and will be able to hold pencils and paint brushes correctly; because you have shown her how. A common problem that can occur at this and earlier levels is that toddler holds chalk, crayons, or pencils in a fist grip. If you do not teach her how to hold a pencil correctly now then you will likely have to ‘unteach’ her incorrect hold in the future; and that can be very difficult. If she has to be ‘untaught’ then her writing and art development can be delayed. 

 

Chalk and chalkboards are generally unsuitable for use by children until they have learnt to write all the letters in the alphabet accurately; usually between five and seven years of age. Chalk is unsuitable for young children because it is difficult for them to hold the thick, and sometimes short, chalk like a pencil. Chalk tends to change children’s way of gripping and teaches them to hold pencils and paint brushes incorrectly. Children who have not yet learnt to write holding a pencil correctly should only use writing and drawing instruments that are held like a pencil to avoid learning incorrect pencil grip. Crayons are usually an unsuitable shape or size for children for the same reasons as chalk. 

 

The Trapeze.  

 

If you have not yet done so, set up a trapeze that toddler can use whenever she chooses. In most houses this can be done by screwing two eyebolts into the doorjamb at the top of a doorway, hanging two ropes from the eyes and tying them to a dowel. Of course, a trapeze can also be hung from trees and other parts of buildings such as exposed rafters or eaves but the eyebolts should be level with each other and not one higher than the other. 

 

Brachiation: Level 5.

 

Supporting Toddler.  

 

 It is likely that when toddler starts this Level she will still require supervision and assistance when she brachiates. 

 

When she commenced brachiation at Level 4, baby supported very little of her own weight. By the end of Level 4 she was supporting about 20% of her own weight while she brachiated. She can now gradually be given more of her own weight to carry. The process of gradually allowing her to take more of her own weight is continued for up to about two more years; until she can take all of her own weight and brachiate independently. When completing Level 5, toddler should be able to support approximately 75% of her weight when brachiating.  

 

Maintaining enthusiasm: 

 

As at previous levels it is still important to encourage toddler’s enthusiasm for brachiation. This usually means maintaining brachiation as an enjoyable family activity each day. Some additional ways of maintaining toddler’s enthusiasm to brachiate follow:

 

  1. In a circuit.

 

Include one lap of brachiating as part of a circuit that includes for example three log rolls, 3 hops and climbing over a bed. 

 

  1. Brachiating Over A Mattress.  

 

Placing gym mats or a mattress under the brachiator can allow toddler more independence to fall if required. If the brachiation ladder is placed at a height such that she can just touch the mat with out-stretched toes then toddler should be relatively safe to brachiate independently when the time comes. Care should be taken to ensure that a mattress is not so springy that she bounces off it and onto the floor or brachiator legs. A mattress (and brachiator) can be made even more interesting for toddler if the mattress is made up with bedclothes and used as a bed occasionally. Always be ready to catch her if she needs to be caught. 

 

  1. River Crossing Adventure.

 

Brachiate across the brachiator to take food supplies or other emergency items to (imaginary) hungry people who can’t swim and who are stranded on the other side of a fast flowing river that is spanned by the brachiator. The food could be imaginary or for example be a wrapped peanut butter sandwich tucked inside a shirt. Parents might have to do this on their knees using toddler’s brachiator and toddler might need help to brachiate. As a variation parents and toddler can take turns at being the waiting hungry people (and eat the sandwich).  

 

  1. Rewards For Good Brachiating. 

 

Reward toddler with, for example, 10 tokens (as described in the book Natural Behaviour) each time she successfully crosses the brachiator. 

 

  1. Follow The Leader.  

 

Include a trip across the brachiator as part of a game of follow the leader. A leading parent might have to do this on his or her knees if using toddler’s brachiation ladder while baby is ‘shadowed’ by another parent at a raised height.  

 

  1. Over The Pool.  

 

Put a brachiation ladder over your swimming pool, if you are fortunate enough to have one, and use it to cross the pool. A brachiator across a pool can be useful as a play item until toddler is a teenager; although a rung size upgrade will be required as toddler grows bigger. Begin with the brachiator at a level where toddler can use it to cross while half immersed in water. The buoyancy helps her to brachiate. Gradually raise the brachiator over several months or years until she is brachiating above the water level (and she will then almost certainly enjoy dropping into the water). 

 

Obviously padding or other safety measures might be required on the pool edge and toddler must be supervised constantly due to the presence of water.

 

 

Activities for parents and toddlers:

 

  1. Twice each day do the following:

 

At bath time, at the beach, pool, kitchen sink, in the yard or elsewhere provide toddler with two or more buckets (or other suitable containers) that she can easily lift when they are filled with water. Play pouring from one bucket into the other with her. Ideally she will pour from one bucket into the other five times or more each day. A small jug and cup, as in children’s tea sets, is also good to use.

 

The container from which toddler is pouring is held in one hand. The container into which she is pouring is placed on a solid floor or some other solid surface. 

 

  1. Obtain the required containers and objects and do the following activities. 

 

Three different sizes of containers are needed; large, medium and small. Suitable containers include cardboard boxes, timber boxes or plastic boxes. The large container is about 30 cm high and having a base over 60 cm x 60 cm.  The small container is about 7 cm high and having a base of about 10 cm x 10 cm. The medium container is about midway between large and small. The large container can also be used as the medium container if no other is available. 

 

Three different sizes of objects are needed; large, medium and small. The large objects are, for example, 10 large toy trucks, large dolls or similar objects each being about adult shoebox size but light enough for toddler to lift easily with two hands. The medium sized objects are toys about half the size of the large ones or items such as ten short pieces of rope (about 25mm diameter and 500mm long) laid flat and straight, which encourage toddler to use two hands to lift them. The small objects are marbles (about 15 mm in diameter), or similarly sized objects such as small wooden blocks.

 

Five times each day play a game with toddler when she places the large objects into, and then takes them out of, the large containers. As well as having fun, encourage toddler to use both hands to lift the objects into or out of the containers. After about three weeks stop using the large objects and containers and:

 

Five times each day play a game with toddler when she places the medium sized objects into, and then takes them out of, the medium sized containers. As well as having fun, encourage toddler to use both hands to lift the objects into or out of the containers.  After about three weeks stop using the medium sized objects and containers and begin using the small sized objects and containers. 

 

Five times each day play a game with toddler when she places the small sized objects into, and then takes them out of, the small sized containers. After about one week begin to play the following game each day or two: 

 

Toddler uses the small container as a train, bus or boat, with toddler being the train, bus or boat driver and you as a passenger. With your encouragement she creeps and pulls the small sized container in one hand, or walks and carries it in both hands, and travels around a room to stations, seaports and bus stops. At each stop she picks up a load of small objects that she transports to other stops. Encourage toddler to hold and/or move the box while she is loading it. Create variations of this game until toddler reaches the next Level, then discontinue it, if you wish.

 

General activities to do every day:

 

  1. Involve toddler in putting away and unpacking playthings every day. Treat packing and unpacking as enjoyable games. Support toddler but avoid taking over doing the packing and unpacking for her. You can simply keep a box of toys available and toddler can unpack them with your help, play with the toys for 5 or 10 minutes, and then pack them up. 

 

  1. Put toddler in charge of unwrapping parcels and opening letters while you assist.

 

  1. When playing with toddler think about ways you can help her to use both hands independently at the same time. For example you might initiate a friendly wrestle on the floor and have toddler hold each of your hands while you try to get them back from her. 

 

  1. Each day have toddler screw a (not tight!) top off and onto a jar or bottle. Encourage her by putting something into the jar for her. 

 

  1. Encourage toddler to draw. Read the book Magnificent Drawing and commence the Magnificent Drawing activities. 

 

  1. Always place pencils into the correct holding position in toddler’s hands. 

 

  1. Continue swinging toddler from your fingers, a bar or trapeze as in the previous Level. 

 

  1. Ten times each day give toddler two objects to hold; one in each hand. Two unbreakable plastic bottles that she can tap together are useful for this activity.

 

  1. Congratulate toddler frequently and enjoy every moment with her.

 

 

Brachiation Activities:

 

During this Level toddler gradually increases the number of lengths she brachiates each day from 7 to 10.  She also increases the amount of her own weight that she supports whilst brachiating from about 20% to about 75%.  

To increase the number of lengths toddler brachiates each day from 7 to 10 the parent encourages toddler to complete one additional brachiation length each 3 to 5 months. Therefore she should move up from 7 to 10 brachiation lengths each day over a period of about 9 to 15 months.  To increase the amount of weight that toddler carries from 20% to 75% the parent gradually, week by week, supports less and less of toddler’s weight so that toddler gradually develops the ability to carry more and more of her weight over the same period of about 9 to 18 months.

 

Ensure the 7 to10 occasions toddler brachiates each day are spread fairly evenly throughout the day and not crammed close together. Toddler can be deterred from brachiating if she does more than is comfortable for her hands and, at this Level, more than one assisted length approximately every 40 minutes could be a deterrent.  

 

 

What toddler should be doing at this Level of development:

 

  • Picking up small pea sized objects with both hands at once using her pincer grip.

 

What toddler should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:

 

  • Using both hands to do two different jobs at the same time. 

 

Toddler should do this on 10 different occasions before moving on to the next Level. That is, using one hand to do one job, while the other hand does another job. 

 

For example, toddler might hold a bag in one hand and remove food from it with the other, or she might hold a twig in one hand while she bends it with the other hand. When she has done 10 activities similar to these, that is, when she uses one hand to act in a supportive role to the other, then she has completed Level 5. 

When baby can do as above she graduates to Level 6 of Baby's Hands. Click on the diploma below to move on to Level 6.

 

 

An average child is likely to move on to Level 6 at approximately age 36 months.

 

A magnificentchildren.love child could potentially move on to Level 6 at approximately age 18 months.

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