All about your baby’s ability to voluntarily put things in containers, the key grasping milestones and activities that can help with each milestone.
Why is Voluntary Release Important?
What you probably don’t know is that your baby’s voluntary attempt and ability to grasp and reach objects is an important sign of his or her motor development. Being able to reach and grasp usually begins at 4 months old and will appear to happen simultaneously.
Put In and Take Out
What may seem like an easy developmental milestone to conquer, learning to take things in and out of containers can be quite an involved task for your little one. Babies usually learn to take things out before they learn to put them in.
Learning to Take Things Out
They may begin to demonstrate this milestone by simply removing things from your purse, like your cell phone, for example. Doing so will do wonders in strengthening your baby’s cognitive development by helping him or her learn to think things through.
Learning to Put Things In
Now that your child has mastered taking things out of containers, she will become fascinated with putting things back in. To encourage her, try giving her a variety of things and many containers to put them in.
Filling and Emptying
Now that your baby has discovered the joys of putting things in and taking things out of containers, she will inevitably move on to dumping things out. Try to temper your inner neat freak when your little one begins this phase. Remember, your child is learning to have fun!
There are developmental milestones that give a general idea of what your baby generally should be doing at every stage of his life. Understanding these milestones can help you choose the best activities to help your baby master their voluntary movement skills.
Tips for Easy and Fun Activities!
We at ADAM & Mila wish to provide practical and easy to apply ideas for fun and educational activities. Take a look at a few examples of fun and easy activities you can try to encourage your little one to reach and grab objects. So fun that babies will do it for hours!
- Finger Fun. (What you’ll need: Cheerios and an empty ice cube tray) Place a single Cheerio in each section of the empty ice cube tray and challenge your baby to use a two-fingered pinch.
- Toy Transfer. (What you’ll need: Cheerios and spoon) To encourage toy transfer, offer your baby a spoon during a meal. You might also want to try sticking a Cheerio to one of your baby’s hands to see if he will try to remove it with the other.
- Grabbing Games. Encourage two-hand reach by placing something enticing (like a cookie or toy) over your infant’s toes.
A Bit More Challenging
- Work For It. One fun way for your baby to practice using her fingers is by pulling apart cooked noodles.
- Learn to twist. Show your baby how to open a twist top container and let her watch you put cereal into it. Soon, after a few attempts, she will be able to do this on her own!
- Highchair Hijinks. To promote picking up small objects, provide finger foods offered toward the thumb side of your baby’s hand; or use cooked pasta or cubed Jello Jigglers placed on a highchair tray.
The 12 Milestones for Development of Controlled Release
The following is a complete month by month list of all the grab and release developmental milestones your baby will conquer from infancy until age two.
Development Milestone emerges from age 2 to 4 months.
At this age, your child isn’t simply able to grab hold of objects, he or she is intentionally curling his or her fingers actively around a small object or toy, grasping them with his or her hand.
Learning to Twist
Development Milestone emerges from age 2 to 4 months.
Now, when your little one spots her favorite toy behind her, your soon-to-be toddler can twist her body around and pick it up.
Better Grasp Control
Development Milestone emerges from age 4 to 6 months.
You have probably noticed your child’s hand automatically and strongly grasps at the simple touch to his or her palm. This is simply their grasps reflex. At this stage, however, their grasps reflex is inhibited.
Dropping Objects with Help
Development Milestone emerges from age 5 to 6 months.
At this age, your child can not voluntarily release objects from his or her hand. However, they can be prompted to do so when an adult removes it.
Development Milestone emerges from age 5 to 7 months.
Your baby’s ability to transfer objects from one hand to another becomes a bit more advanced. At first, it will start as a two-hand transfer, where her empty hand will join the one holding the object then releasing it.
Manipulate and Explore Objects
Development Milestone emerges from age 6 to 8 months.
Your baby is now able to twist and rotate his forearm and bend and twist his wrist in order to pick up his toys. Now, he can release objects with more control.
Dropping Objects on Purpose
Development Milestone emerges from age 8 to 10 months.
This is when your baby’s emerging voluntary release skills start to evolve. You may notice he or she dropping objects on purpose, picking them up, then dropping them again.
Drops Toys in Large Containers
Development Milestone emerges from age 9 to 10 months.
At this age, your child can drop his toys into a large container with control. His release skills are not yet refined enough to accurately drop them into a small container.
Drops Toys in Small Containers
Development Milestone emerges from age 10 to 11 months.
This stage demonstrates the continued development of your child’s controlled voluntary release skills. Now, he can release a small object into a small container, like a small cup or bowl.
Drops Many Toys into Containers
Development Milestone emerges from age 12 to 13 months.
This is very similar to the previous stage, except by now your baby will need more persistence and interest to drop small objects into containers - at least three objects consecutively!
Drops Objects into Container Before Taking Any Out
Development Milestone emerges from age 14 to 15 months.
Now your little one will need to be able to use the pincer grasp to master this milestone. With persistence and motivation, your child is able to drop at least six objects the size of a pellet into a container with controlled release. He or she will drop in all six before taking any objects out
Putting Tiny Objects into Tiny Openings
Development Milestone emerges from age 15 to 23 months.
Now, the fun begins! Your baby’s grasp and release skills are so controlled and precise that he can put pellet-sized objects into the narrow neck of a bottle or other tiny openings.
Don’t underestimate the value of learning controlled release for your little one! Even so, we should also note that every baby learns at his or her own pace. What is most important is that you understand what these developmental milestones are and that you and your baby have fun reaching them! We hope that this article was helpful to you. We would love to know what you think! Please share our article with others who might benefit from it.