Taking off screw top lids

In this activity the child practices taking off screw top lids of different sizes.  


How the hands work together to unscrew a lid

One hand works to stabilize the container, and the other hand grips and twists the lid. 

If the lid is tight and needs the application of force to untwist it, the lid is firmly grasped by the fingers and the turning action is brought about by movements of the arm. 

  lid-on-jar-3.jpg  lid-on-jar-4_1.jpg

However, if the lids is loose and is easy to move, it is twisted by moving the fingers backwards and forwards several times in quick succession. 


Unscrewing tight lids strengthens the fingers

The forceful grip that is needed to loosen a tightly closed screw top lid strengthens the fingers. It is also trains the coordination needed for applying a strong force with the fingers. 

Both the hand stabilizing the container and the one holding the lid need to work hard when opening a tightly closed lid.  Different sized containers require different grips. 

gripping-small-jarp-lid_1.jpg   loosening-jar-lid.jpg

Using a set of containers and bottles with different sized lids challenges the child to apply force using grips that are adjusted to the size of the lid and the jar or bottle. 

   gripping-small-bottle-top_1.jpg   lid-on-jar-1.jpg

For this activity you will need

A collection of at least 10 containers with screw top lids of different sizes. 


Activity instructions 

Let your child sit or stand facing a table with your set of jars and bottles placed to one side. 

Make sure all the lids are fairly firmly screwed onto the containers. 

Encourage your child to pick up a jar or bottle, unscrew the lid, then screw it back on again as firmly as possible, and lastly put it to one side. 


You may need to adjust how tight you screw on the lids: they should be tight enough to challenge the child, but not so tight that he/she cannot open it. 

To make the activity more interesting

You can place a small reward in each jar or bottle. You and your child can hide small objects in the jars and then play a guessing game. 

Some children enjoy working against the clock. Time how long it takes to screw off all the lids. 

More information

How to strengthen muscles  Muscles get stronger when they are made to work against a load that is bigger than what they encounter everyday. 

All the different grips needed for everyday and school tasks