The child uses spring tongs to help an imaginary squirrel collect nuts for winter.

Transferring hazelnuts with spring tongs

Transferring hazelnuts with spring tongs

Roberta Frosolini


The child enjoys an indoor hands-on exploration of the Autumnal season and an imaginative way to practice transferring with spring tongs.



  • eye-hand coordination
  • fine motor control / pencil grip
  • left-to-right eye movements
  • independence




  • Bowl
  • Decorative snack bowl
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pair of spring tongs
  • Tray


Appropriate terms: tongs, nuts, squirrel. Extend the vocabulary with any appropriate words to describe the activity.


Pick up the tongs using a pencil grip and show the child the squeezing movement required to use them.

With your non-dominant hand, steady the bowl of nuts. Relax the grip on the tongs so that the ends are open, placing them around a single nut, then tighten the grip to secure it. Move the tongs across the squirrel snack bowl and release the nut into the bowl.

Repeat this action until all the hazelnuts have been transferred, then replace the tongs on the tray. Reverse the bowls so that the activity is ready for the child.


Tongs can be made of natural bamboo or beechwood. They can be spring or toast tongs. Provide decorative snack bowls and other resources & ideas based on the theme of the seasons, on the interests of the child, and on your focus activity plans.

Offer the child opportunities to closely examine a variety of nuts (sweet chestnuts, walnuts, pecan), then examine them even more closely, adding descriptions with the increasing detail.

The child can be taken on nature walks to see how living things have adapted to various environments. Watch squirrels collect nuts in Autumn.

Include the study of living things —  what they are, how they survive, and how they change.