To make a pair of chopstick tongs, gather an elastic band, a pair of chopsticks and some paper. If your chopsticks come wrapped in a paper pouch, you can use that instead of a separate piece of paper.
Break the chopsticks apart.
Fold up a piece of paper or the covering that your chopsticks were wrapped in. The thicker the paper is, the wider the tongs will be. Toddlers will benefit from a wider opening while an older child can be challenged with a smaller opening.
Place the rolled paper between the chopsticks approximately an inch from the ends.
Place the elastic band so that it hangs down from the chopsticks in front of the rolled paper.
Put your fingers through the hanging elastic and twist to form an "X" on the top of the rolled paper.
Then continue wrapping the elastic band around the chopsticks behind the rolled paper.
This is what the chopstick tongs will look like.
Collect items to be manipulated with the chopstick tongs. Since there is a beautiful frangipani tree just outside of our villa, my daughter already has a collection of flowers that have fallen to the ground. I thought it would be fun for her to use the chopstick tongs to pick up the flowers by their stem and place them in a beautiful wooden bowl. We have also used small pompoms, noodles and blocks for this activity.
Have your child make an "L" shape if he/she is left-handed, or a reversed "L" shape if he/she is right-handed. Then, rest the chopstick tongs on his/her thumb and index finger. This was quite tricky for Sophia at first. After a while, she began to manipulate the tongs with her thumb, index and middle fingers- which is the proper technique for writing with a pencil. Sometimes, however, she will resort to using all of her fingers to hold the tongs. In that case, I place a small sticker on her hand between her ring finger and pinky and tell her that the sticker is a special present that she needs to keep safe by keeping her fingers folded. This helps her to only use her thumb, index and middle finger to hold the tongs while stabalizing them with her ring and pinky.
Manipulating chopstick tongs is a fantastic pre-writing activity since it helps to build fine motorskills while developing the pincer grasp. Tong play will strengthen hand and finger muscles that will later be needed for using a pencil.