Your chance to take part in new early years research

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Squeezing, moulding, pinching are all some of the many ways that babies and toddlers use their hands to explore the world around them.


Early years practitioners are being invited to contribute findings to a new research project  by observing how young children use their hands and fingers to explore objects through play.

Sue Gascoyne of Play to Z, who is carrying out the study with outdoor play expert Jan White, told Nursery World, ‘Convinced of the fact that there is a lot more to fine motor skills than simply pincer and palmar grips we have launched a mini research project to observe how children use their hands.’

Practitioners and parents can submit their own observations by filling in the table attached and recording the different ways that children of different ages handle objects, whether it’s by smoothing, mashing and grinding, rolling etc.

handresearchSue Gascoyne added, ‘The aim is to develop a series of guidelines on the different types of finger and hand movements typically seen in children across the ages and to identify how best adults can support this vital aspect of children’s development.’

To take part, simply download the observation checklist and follow the instructions.

All research participants will receive an electronic summary of the findings and the recommendations.

More detailed observations using written and video observations of children handling objects are also welcome and (subject to the appropriate permission requirements) may be included in a forthcoming publication.

For more information on the project contact or call 01206 796 722.

  • The deadline for returning the forms is 31 March 2014.
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