Pin poking (or push pinning) activity helps develop concentration, coordination and pincer grip which are important pre-writing skills.
The benefits of pin poking can be amazing. It is a famous activity in the Montessori curriculum.
I first introduced pin pocking to my son when he was 28 months because he has always been a clear left-handed little person and being right-handed, I found it difficult to model the pencil grip.
That activity alone helped my son increase his concentration, self-discipline and helped him strengthen his finger muscles along with developing the necessary pincer grip.
If safety and self-control are of concerns to you, you can wait until your little one is older. However, keep in mind that even if your toddler is self-disciplined and careful, or older, it is always recommended to supervise your kids when doing this activity.
This is not an activity you should leave out unsupervised. The puncher should be placed out of reach after each use too.
When we first started, my son would punch inside or outside the outline. At the beginning, it is more about exploring the activity of punching itself, rather than aiming to punch on the outlines.
It is part of the exploring and helps foster curiosity. I would take him to the window to look through the light and check whether the holes were close together. We would talk about how close the holes are to each other.
After a while, my son would successfully punch the outlines and around 3,5 or so years old, he learnt to punch holes close to each other to complete the shape to the point where he can separate the punched shape from the rest of the paper, and play with it or reuse it for another crafty activity.
This activity can be done in two ways:
- For younger children, by punching pre-drawn or pre-printed shapes; or
- For older pre-schoolers, by first tracing their own shapes before punching them out.
Either way works fine considering pin pocking activities:
- boost deeper concentration,
- perfect fine motor skills and finger grip which in-turn prepare for writing, and
- foster patience and attention to detail.
But more importantly, pocking is thoroughly enjoyed by children! I mean, who doesn’t like pocking holes?!
How to set the pin poking activity up?
Print picture outline on regular paper or thicker paper (or draw shapes on paper using shapes from puzzles for example) and cut cards. Place cards in a box on a tray along with the puncher and a pad mat or corkboard.
Your child should place a card on top of the pad mat (like this one) or corkboard (like this one). Your child should place a card on top of the pad mat or corkboard before punching out holes using the pin puncher (like this one or this one depending on the handle you want your child to practice with). Invite your child to punch holes on the outlines.
Why pin pocking?
I find that pin pocking activities indirectly help my son grasp new vocabulary in French: we would learn the names of geometric shapes or the continents for example. I would typically use outlines to fit with the theme we are learning.
I invite you to subscribe and get access to all my free printables, including a printable for you to start your pin pocking activity to learn the French names of geometric shapes below.
I would love to hear from you. What do you love about pin pocking?