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Practical Life - Fine Motor Skills
Clothespins 4.jpg
Age3 - 4
PrerequisitesCarrying a Tray
Grasping Transfer
several clothespins
container for clothespins

This activity teaches the child how to use clothespins. It also helps them to develop their pincer grasp and helps with small muscle development.


  1. Carry the tray to a table.
    Clothespins 1.jpg
  2. Remind the child of the grasping motion used in Grasping Transfer by making the movement in the air a couple of times.
    Clothespins 2.jpg
  3. Pick up a clothespin in your dominant hand with a pincer grasp. Show how it opens and shuts by pinching it open in the air a couple of times.
  4. Squeeze the clothespin so that it is held open. Line it up over the edge of the bowl, lower it into place. Relax grip so that the clothespin pinches on the edge of the bowl. Let go with your hand.
    Clothespins 3.jpg
  5. Repeat with remaining clothespins.
    Clothespins 4.jpg
  6. Remove the clothespins one at a time and place them back in the bowl. Return the tray to the shelf.

Points of Interest

Control of Error

The child knows that he has done the activity correctly when the clothespins all stay clipped to the edge of the bowl.

Variations and Extensions

  • Use different colored clothespins and have the child clip them on matching colored taped spots on the edge of the bowl.
  • Use different kinds of clothespins or chip clips.
  • The clothespins could hold items to the sides of the bowl:
    Clothespins and hearts 1.JPG Clothespins and hearts 2.JPG Clothespins and hearts 3.JPG


Be sure that the edge of the bowl or container is thin enough to easily attach the clothespins.
Pink clothespins.jpg
Source: Leptir Montessori Blog
Blue clothespins.jpg
Source: Leptir Montessori Blog

Further Reading