Combine fine motor skills development with sensory integration using rice trays
Using tongs to pick up pasta, pom poms, etc. helps children to develop the grasp/release movement that is needed for cutting with scissors. Cutting with scissors requires a smooth, rhythmic hand motion and tongs can provide a similar motion to the hands without the risk of using sharp scissors.
For children who find using large tongs difficult, take a step back and encourage children to pinch and pick up small objects with a rhythmic pinching action (no tongs in hand).
To encourage object permanence and incorporate literacy skills, hide magnetic or laminated letter cards under the rice and encourage children to search for the letters under the rice. Object permanence develops when children try to find hidden objects.