Before a child is ready to write, there are significant skills that must be accomplished from infancy through the preschool years.
The following children’s activities support and promote the fine motor skills needed to ensure success when it comes to learning to write.
Before the body is ready for fine motor activity, the joints of the body must be stable. When body stability has developed, the hands and fingers start working on movements that require dexterity and grasping. Try these hand exercises to strengthen the joints
- Wheelbarrow: Have your child walk on his hands. Have him kneel on the ground, place his hands on the ground in front, palms flat. You lift up his legs up and push along as he puts one hand in front of the other to walk.
- Crab Walk: Your child should sit down on the ground, hands behind him palms turned out. Then tell him to lift his bottom up while walking hands and feet backwards at the same time.
- Wall push-ups: Have your child stand up, arms shoulder width apart, hands at chest height. Place the palms flat against the wall and do 10 push ups per set.
- Monkey Bars: Supporting and pulling up his own weight on the playground monkey bars will also improve joint strength.
Fine Motor Exercises for Handwriting
Children will develop fine motor skills best if they work on a vertical surface, especially when the wrist is in extension (bent back in the direction of the hand). You can try these activities with paper on the wall, paint on an easel or a using a chalkboard.
- Trace: With a large marker you draw a stick figure on the paper, or simple line drawing of your choice. Have your child trace over your drawing up to 10 times trying left to right and top to bottom. Then have the child draw the figure next to your model several times. For more complex drawings, try tracing paper laid over the image and repeat exercise.
- Connect the dots: You can draw dots on the paper in a random pattern. Ask the child to connect the dots from left to right, and from top to bottom.
- Stencils: Have your child use their non-dominant hand to firmly hold the stencil on the paper. With their dominant hand they can draw around the edge of the stencil.
When your child is older and handwriting practice begins, start the lessons off right by using an ergonomic pen that is light and easy to grip with smooth ink, like the UGLee Pen. Be sure to check back to see Childrens Activites that Help Develop Handwriting Skills – Part 2 to learn about games that can help with visual motor development.