Before a child is ready to write, they need to develop fine motor skills in the hands and fingers. Building manual dexterity and strength can help to eliminate the development of an inappropriate pencil grasp, which can lead to writing pain. Try some of the following activities to support your children’s fine motor development, and give them a head start towards build the strength and dexterity necessary to hold a writing implement correctly and without frustration.
Fine Motor Activities
- Rolling items into various sized balls, such as play dough or tissue paper. They can do this using the palms of the hands facing each other and with their fingertips only.
- Lacing games, such as those cardboard toys with holes and colored laces. Stringing beads is also good.
- Improve hand strength by crumpling a single sheet of newspaper in one hand.
- Using large toy tweezers to pick things up, like Cheerios, small toys, and place them into a jar.
- Build dexterity using toy screwdrivers.
- Using eye droppers, turkey basters or large medicine dispensers to “pick up” water and squirt it again. This can make for a fun time in the tub.
- Strengthen the hand by using a water bottle to spray the plants.
- Turning over cards or checkers without bringing them to the edge of the table.
- Peeling stickers from the backing sheet and pressing them down to make a picture.
- Tell stories with finger puppets (especially the thumb, index, and middle fingers).
Once your child is ready to grasp a pen, ensure his success by using an ergonomic pen that focuses on a comfortable grip. This can help eliminate frustration and possible writing pain for those who tend to grip too hard.