North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Health and Physical Development (HPD)

Subdomain: Motor Development

Goal: Children develop small muscle control and hand-eye coordination to manipulate objects and work with tools.

Skill Progression: Manipulation/Tool use

Age: 48-54 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 48-54 Months.

Puts key in lock and opens it

Situations for Observation of Skill

Provide opportunities for the children to discover treasures by opening “secret” treasure boxes.

Elicitation Strategy

The adult places one or more locked boxes in the dramatic play area. Put fun items in the boxes related to the dramatic play theme and have keys available to open the boxes (or, better yet, give clues for finding the keys).

Behavior Observed

The child takes small key, places it with an accurate orientation in a lock, and rotates the wrist with appropriate force to unlock the lock.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Children love opening locks, so early childhood educators and parents who include opportunities for use of lock and key have a strong motivator for practicing fine motor skills. Parents can let children use a key to unlock the door when coming home and provide a “secret” locked diary for drawing in and practicing writing.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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