Some activity ideas to help your child practice zips.


Zips are usually the first fastenings that children learn to do.  This is usually on their jacket and they always require help to put the zip together initially. 

Children should be able to pull a zip up once the adult has put the pin into the box from the age of 4.

Hints and Tips

  • When buying a coat/jacket with an open-ended zip, test the zip thoroughly as the ease of fastening can vary greatly.
  • Try attaching a zip pull cord, key ring, piece of cord or ribbon to the jacket zip to make it easier to grasp and pull.

  • Practice opening and closing a variety of bags/clothes with zips.

  • On skirts, do up the zip fastening at the front then twist skirt round until fastenings are in the correct place.


Alternative Strategies

  • Trouser zips can be replaced with Velcro or avoided altogether by wearing elasticated waist trousers.
  • Jacket can be pulled on over head with zip still fastened part way at the bottom. Sew strong thread around the zip just above the connection to prevent it from coming undone. The jacket can then be put on like a jumper or by stepping into it and pulling it up and over the shoulders to place the arms in.


Activity Ideas - Backward Chaining 

1. Once your child has their jacket on engage the zip for them (put pin in box) and pull it up a little.  Hold down the bottom of the zip and ask your child to pull it up the rest of the way.

2. The next time engage the zip and get your child to pull it up completely whilst you continue to hold the bottom of the zip.

3. Then guide your child’s hand to engage the zip themselves and get them to pull it up.  Place your hand on top of their hand to hold the bottom of the zip steady and let them use their other hand to pull the zip up.

4. Once they have mastered this step ask your child to engage the zip without your assistance and pull it up independently.

Once your child can do their jacket zip move onto the zip on their jeans or trousers.  These are more difficult as they are smaller so you may need to start the backward training process again.


  • Introduction
  • Hints and Tips
  • Alternative Strategies
  • Activity Ideas for Backward Chaining