Teaching Pencil Grasp Can Start with Edison Chopsticks

Cute characters and a stable grasp!
Cute characters and a stable grasp!
Playing Wok 'n Roll with Edison Chopsticks!
Playing Wok ‘n Roll with Edison Chopsticks!

I love these Edison training chopsticks.  You could eat your lunch with them, but you could also pick up little toys and game pieces.  Every preschooler that I work with that has difficulty with controlling their pencil has fun with these chopsticks.  They have no idea that my goal is to get their finger strength and coordination to the point where holding a pencil is as easy as can be.

This style is convertible, in that you can remove the loops, but you cannot rotate the finger loops for hand dominance.  That means that if you have lefties and righties in the same family, they can’t share.  You have to buy a right-handed or a left-handed one.  I have seen other training chopsticks and chopstick holders that are neutral; neither left or right-handed.  The Edison design is the cutest set I have ever seen, and provides the most stable grasp since the finger loops really insist on correct finger placement.  I think they are worth the cost and the inconvenience of not being able to share between righties and lefties.

You can create a cheap DIY training chopstick set.  You need wooden chopsticks, the paper  wrapper or another paper rectangle about the size of the wrapper, and a rubber band.  Twist the rubber band around the chopsticks tightly at the top but leave enough slack for one more twist, then take the rolled-up chopstick wrapper and insert it in between the chopsticks.  Twist the rubber band beneath the paper, and off you go.  The paper creates a fulcrum for the chopsticks.  YouTube has more than one video that will guide you along in creating this chopstick trainer.  Not as cute as the Edison chopsticks, but much cheaper, more earth-friendly, and even travel-ready.  Just bring along your rubber band to dinner and you are all set!

Using these chopsticks is so much fun that some young children think that meal times are suddenly more fun, and they might want to eat a wider variety of food as well.  Lots of preschoolers go to hibachi restaurants with their parents in my area, especially on the weekends.  They are so excited when I teach them to use these chopsticks so that they can eat like the “big kids”.  They have no idea how much fine motor development they are gaining with every bite!

By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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