Hand function: Toddlers 18-36 months

By 18 months most typically developing toddlers have acquired a basic set of abilities that provide the substrate for more complex, goal directed and sequential hand tasks that are acquired in the toddler years (about 18-36 months). 

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Video clips and analysis 

  • Playdough encourages young children to explore different ways to use their hands and tools the shape, roll, stretch and cut playdough. It also provides a great  opportunity to social interaction and learning from a demonstration. 

  • Playdough play provides an opportunity for exploring many different ways of  interacting with a soft and pliable material. Children, with a bit of guidance will use the hands to squeeze, pull, roll, poke, pat, break apart and put it together again.  

  • T 16m posting long rod 1.jpgFrom about 12 months young children develop a fasciation with posting objects through apertures. In this series you see toddlers at different ages posting objects into different containers with different sized and oriented apertures. 

  • Posting rods into a bottles creates a challenge for the young child: the rod and the aperture of the bottles need to be aligned. 

  • W 18m tub tower 1_1.jpgIn this video you see Will (17 mo) building towers using yogurt tubs. 

  • Once an infant is able to sit independently, they enjoy the challenge of moving large or heavy objects. Plastic bottles of different sizes, shapes and weights are great, easy-to-find and make from recycling toys. 

  • Toddlers enjoys building towers with cardboard boxes. 

  • M17 threading hand position 4.jpgThreading beads involves a sequence of actions that take time to learn. 

  • 2y catch scoop ball.jpgBall games provide children repeated opportunities to practice the two important aspects of catching, throwing and kicking: these are visual information gathering and then using this information to plan the movements needed for a particular task.

  • 2y throw heavy beanbag.jpgThis video beautifully illustrates a typical paly session with a toddler: while I try to elicit catching and throwing actions, Max has his won agenda. 

  • Scissor cutting 
    Children are often required to perform tasks that require them to cut paper with a pair of scissors. The simplest cutting tasks involve cutting along a straight line.  Cutting angled lines, lines that require a sharp change in direction and curved lines all require increasing levels of sensorimotor control in order to achieve the desired result. 

  • Putting on socks 
    Putting on socks  is a task children commonly encounter, and which, by the age of 5-6 years are expected to be able to do independently. These video clips provide insight into how the task is performed by an adult and three children aged 8, 7 and 4 years

  • In this clip you see Max (aged 2 years) playing a game of skittles.He employs a range of well coordinated movement strategies for several different goal directed actions. 

    You see that  Max: