Handwriting skills are strengthened by pre-handwriting activities such as cutting, pasting, drawing and squeezing. Making cookies in the kitchen is a great way of working on the grip needed to hold the pencil correctly! Making Valentine’s Day cards is also beneficial in developing the hand arches needed for your child to maintain that pencil grip for letter formation. Once the pencil is in hand, here are a few pointers to get a grip on handwriting early on:
- Having your child recognize their letters and numbers before actually writing them will help them confidently work on their handwriting.
- If your child seems to hold their pencil awkwardly, offer pinch size crayons by snapping a crayon in thirds to help strengthen their grasp on occasion. There are a fun variety of shaped crayons—from eggs to stars—that will enable the younger child to strengthen the finger muscles. Rather than try to correct the grasp, try a large molded grip which will allow your child to get the grip they need.
- When forming letters be sure to instill correct directionality. All uppercase letters start at the top and follow a progression from top to bottom and left to right.
- Try other creative ways of encouraging correct letter and number formation in sand trays, shaving cream and sidewalk chalk on larger surfaces before moving onto a printed line.
- Try air writing by demonstrating the letters using the whole arm and pointing the index finger as though writing on a large sheet of paper suspended in front of you.
Good handwriting skills early on will ensure success later on in school. And those tasty Valentine’s cookies you made together? They are a nice way to treat your child for a job well done when practicing their letters!
Director of Fun, Co-Founder & Mother of Four
Registered Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L)
Sensory Integration and Praxis Test Certified (SIPT)
Each HOOT for Kids blog represents our point of view but should not replace diagnosis and treatment from your own doctor or therapist