Inclusive Resource on Sensorimotor Child Development for Parents and Teachers

Advanced Spinners: To Strengthen Pincer Grasp and More!


Even though my children are grown up, no mater where I travel, I always find my way to the toy stores to look for new, interesting toys.  Museum shops have the best!  I discovered this Spinner at The General Store in Vermont during a ski trip.  It’s harder than is looks and captivates the interest of all!

To succeed in making a spinner work, the child has to sustain focus.The second the child stops paying attention, the action will stop.  Eventually the pattern becomes habituated, requiring slightly less attention to move the bead smoothly.

This is the way it goes with daily life skills.  As one learns to execute a task, such as dressing, tying shoe laces, putting papers back in folders and keeping a desk tidy, early attempts require care and focus in execution.  Once the habit is firmly established the child doesn’t have to think so much about how to do it.

When children  master the spinner, they have great fine motor dexterity and much more.  All the benefits listed below are key ingredients for fine and visual motor work such as handwriting.


  • To operate properly,fine motor precision is required
  • The ability to grade movement (figure out how to speed up or slow down) is required
  • You learn to follow a simple motor sequence
  • Both hands have a specific job to do, making it a bilateral reciprocal activity
  • The fascinating visual effect keeps the child’s visual attention fixed. These are key ingredients for fine and visual motor work such as handwriting.


1.  The Non-dominant hand holds the end of the wire handle with a stabilizing grip, such as a lateral pinch.

2.  The dominant hand grasps the moving bead with a refined pincer grasp (thumb and index tips).

3.  These fingers need to bend at the tip to accomodate the moving bead.

4.  To keep the spinner going, an up and down motor sequence needs to occur repeatedly.

5.  The motion should be continuous. To keep the movement smooth, both hands need to work together (as one pushes up the other pulls down gently).

6.  To avoid the action from stopping, it has to be determined exactly how for up to push the bead, this requires visual attention and grading of movement (too fast and the bead will crash at the top and stop the movement).

Special Considerations:

  • This toy is not recommended for toddlers-best results are for ages 4-and older.
  • Care should be taken as the spinner can cause a “paper cut” type wound.

One source to order this toy:           





Similar posts
  • A Shining Star! In our youth oriented culture, getting older tends to herald the decline of bodily functions and a wistful outlook, with memories of good times receding in the past. The silver lining of growing older, is that you get to witness how things turn out. In my case, I get to hear about the kids I [...]
  • Holiday Sponge Art Ten days ’til Christmas!  Planning simple holiday themed activities helps to channel some of that palpable energy.  The trick is to keep the projects simple. When kids’ sensory systems are overloaded with multi-colored lights, never-ending Christmas music and constantly changing routines, they don’t need any motor planning challenges. Activities that incorporate easy to do steps [...]
  • Gingerbread Houses I have been making gingerbread houses as a holiday celebration activity with the students for many years and it has become almost legendary. The children are thrilled. While it looks like all fun (and is!), I glean a great deal of information from this holiday activity. Benefits: I use the activity as an assessment of each [...]
  • Travel We are approaching the most heavily traveled season on the year.  Along with the joys of visiting family and friends, we often struggle through traffic jams of mammoth proportions.  Whether facing flying delays or miles of crawling traffic, when kids are in tow, the frustration and anxiety can multiply. No matter whether you take a [...]
  • Lasagna Gardening It’s time to Tuck in the Garden.  As Daylight Savings ends and temperatures plummet, the days of growing delicious food at the Truro Community Children’s Garden is ending for the season.  We’ll still be able to snitch kale and mint leaves for smoothie snacks, but our big job right now is preparing the garden beds [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to The Motor Story via Email