Clothing peg games: put on, take off and post

In this video you see Will (18 months) engaged in several activities with pegs, plastic tubs and a cardboard role. 

The video illustrates many of the basic abilities a toddler has developed by 18-24 months, and here I have highlighted just a few. 

Using a two handed strategy to reposition a peg in the hand
At 18 months Will uses a two handed strategy to turn the peg around ready for fitting it over the edge of a tub. 

He first tries to fit the peg onto the rim of the tub with the closed side facing the rim, decides that this won't work (based on previous experience)  and initiates a series of movements to turn the peg around so that the open side faces down.  

W 18m repositioning peg 1.jpg   W 18m repositioning peg 2.jpg  W 18m repositioning peg 3.jpg  W 18m repositioning peg 4.jpg  

Visually guided reaching 
Will then reaches forwards, overshoots the rim, adjusts the alignment of the peg relative the the rim of the tub and fits it on.  This movement is slow and visually guided. 

W 18m repositioning peg 5.jpg   W 18m repositioning peg 6.jpg  W 18m repositioning peg 7.jpg  W 18m repositioning peg 8.jpg

Pick up, move, drop 

You also see will picking up the peg several times, move the hand over the tub and drop the peg in. This action requires less accuracy, and he performs the action as a preplanned movement that does not require visually guided adaptation of the movement to ensure that his hand is positioned over the tub when he drops the peg. 

Also notice that at this age, Will tends to move the arm and trunk as a unit: as he moves the right hand left, he also shifts the trunk to the left. 

W 18m reach to drop 3.jpg   W 18m reach to drop 4.jpg   W 18m reach to drop 5.jpg   W 18m reach to drop 6.jpg   

Coordinating the action of two hands for posting 
These frames illustrate how Will has learned to coordinate the actions of the two UE's when posting an object through a relatively small aperture. He moves the peg hand and the tube hand closer together, while at the same time tipping the tube so that it is in line with the long axis of the peg.  

W 18m post two handing strategy 1.jpg   W 18m post two handing strategy 2.jpg   W 18m post two handing strategy 3.jpg

Stabilize and pull 
Many actions involve gasping one object and holding it steady when an external force is applied. Will has mastered the basics of this ability, however these images show that the calibration of the amount of force needed to counteract the pull applied to the peg needs refining. Notice that the tube moves sideways. 

W 18m stabilise and pull 1.jpg   W 18m stabilise and pull 2.jpg


Video clip: Peg games


Return to Hand Function 10-18 months 

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Dear Colleagues

I am on a mission to turn my extensive knowledge of motor control, learning and development and my practical experience into a comprehensive resource for therapists working with young children. Intervention research in EI clearly supports task oriented, intensive training, family and child centered and coaching approaches to intervention.  

To be effective therapists need to understand the many factors that contribute to successful task performance in different environments.  These videotapes of toddlers playing provide a wonderful opportunity to observe and analyze perceptual-motor behavior of toddlers exploring different ways to engage with the environment.  I believe that they will provide a wonderful learning opportunity for both novice and expert therapists. 

To be sure to reach the widest audience across the world, the posts on development of hand function can be accessed for free. I am hoping to initiate a lively debate in the TOMT forum. 

If you think that this project has value, perhaps you would consider supporting it by taking out a TOMT subscription (just $20 for 12 months). This will give you access to many resources as regards development, as well as  task oriented assessment and intervention strategies.   You can subscribe here 

With best wishes 

Pam Versfeld​