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: 33-36 Months

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Completes simple puzzles (separate pieces or interlocking)

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe children in play with play dough, puzzles, and art projects.

Elicitation Strategy

Start with a 6 to 8- piece interlocking puzzle of a child or animal. After the child completes the puzzle, use play dough and scissors to make a play dough version of the puzzle. Roll the dough, flatten and cut into shapes, and continue to reshape them.

Behavior Observed

The child uses a variety of manipulative moves—pushes, rolls, pinches, cuts, turns, and rotates, using the fingers, palm, and wrist to create the desired effect.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Encourage parents to provide materials the child can manipulate. These can include art materials, such as play dough, paper, glue and scissors, as well as baking cookies, snipping bean tips, tearing lettuce, and so on. Children not only practice fine motor skills, they build self-confidence and independence.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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