9 (Fun) Ways to a Mature Grasp

Summary:Many kids struggle with grasp.  Sharing playful and fun activities to help teach your child to use a mature grasp.

Does your child struggle with handwriting?  

Or do they hold their pencil with their whole hand, hold their pencil tightly, or just in an awkward manner?  

Many kids struggle with grasp, but there are also many ways to help.
Today, I would like to share 9 playful activities to develop a mature grasp. 

Hi, I am Betsy from BJ's Homeschool, a veteran homeschool mom of one homeschool and college grad, and a retired O.T. 

But first, let's talk about grasp.

How Kids Develop Grasp Skills 

Little ones will naturally begin coloring by holding the crayon with the whole hand.  This is normal for preschoolers and for some kindergarteners, too.

Some kids gradually move to a mature grasp pattern over the years, as they grow.....but some kids don’t.  But there are many ways to encourage a more mature grasp. 

What is a Mature Grasp Pattern?

As you see in the photo below, a mature grasp looks like this:

photo credit - Draw Your World

Holding the tip of the pencil or pen with the tips of the thumb and first two fingers – that’s a mature grasp or a tripod grip.

Now, there are many different ways to hold the pencil.  My daughter's grasp is not the same as mine.  

But once your child has some type of mature grasp pattern, writing will be a lot easier.

Using other grasp patterns are common as your child begins to learn a mature grasp.  

Theses often occur from using excessive effort.  As they practice, they will most likely begin to relax.  

Now let's go on to look at 9 FUN and Easy to Do activities to build a Mature Grasp

Here's 9 Fun Ways to Encourage a Mature Grasp: 

1.  Color Crayon Trick

Coloring with very short crayons can encourage your child to use his first three fingers, instead of the whole hand! 

When coloring with short crayons, there is more of a chance that your child will grip with the first three fingers only.  

There is no room for the other fingers to fit on the crayon!

2.  The Puff Ball Trick

First, get a pencil and a little puff ball, or a cotton ball, or even a small eraser.
- Have your child hold the puff ball with their little and ring fingers, curling the ball into the palm.

3.  Add a Pencil to Puff Ball Trick

 Then give them a pencil, and they will likely grasp it with the thumb, and next two fingers. 

4.  Alligator Fingers

Make "alligator fingers" using the thumb, index and middle fingers to make an alligator's mouth, as in the picture below.

5.  Clothes Pins Play

Grasp a clothes pin, then line them up on a string, or make little puppets with them, and use them in play. 

Pinch the clothes pins with your alligator fingers!  

6.  Tweezers Play

Pick up little things with tweezers, using the first three fingers. Use them to pick up small pieces of macaroni, beans, etc.  

OR Squeeze glue onto a paper plate, and add macaroni with the tweezers, to make a design!  

7.  Playing with Tongs

Kitchen Tongs are great for strengthening the muscles for a mature grasp.  Have your kids use their alligator fingers.

OR With an egg carton, pick up the objects such as and small toys,legos, beads, or beans.  Then put them into the egg carton, with the tongs.  

8.  Push Pin Play

Above, I just placed a paper napkin onto a piece of cardboard. 

Then, with the index finger or the thumb, the child pushes the pins into the napkin to make a design.  This is great for strengthening.   

9.   Play Pinching with Clay

Photo Credit - www.oakmeadow.com

Pinch the playdough or clay, using alligator fingers. (see # 4.)  Make a pinch pot!

OR Make a clay pizza, and adding small shapes to it, by squeezing clay to form pepperoni, onions, etc.

One more idea:

Writing on a slanted surface, also can help kids use a mature grasp pattern.  Here's an extra idea to try. 

Use a large ringed notebook on a table, so that it creates a slanted  surface, facing your child.  

Writing on a slanted surface naturally places the wrist so that it is straightened out, just where you want it for ease of writing.  

Some kids enjoy having their paper taped to the frig, above shoulder height, and writing there. Really!

This helps to not only place the wrist properly, it also helps to strengthen the wrist muscles!

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

Copyright, 2022 All Rights Reserved


  1. I enjoyed reading this post. We are right at the stage where all my kids are either learning how to write or how to improve their hand-writing. We have a free Sunday today and I'm planning to make some homemade clay and also do some good-old tweezers-and-beans projects with kids. Thanks for linking up @LearningKidLinkup. I hope you will be back next Thursday!

  2. Thanks Kid Minds, for sharing your comments! I love linking up @LearningKidLinkup, where there are so many great ideas and resources for young families. I hope your kids had a lot of fun with their clay and tweezers play day!!

  3. Oooh, great tips on how to develop that mature grasp. I'll have to remember this for my youngest daughter.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely evening.

  4. Thanks, Jennifer, from the Deliberate Mom, for stoppnig by! I plan to link up to the #SHINEbloghop again! I hope these ideas for handwriting will be a help to your daughter.

  5. These are some wonderful ideas. My 7 year old has been struggling with holding the pencil correctly, I am going to have to try some of these ideas.
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing with Littles Learning Link Up. So glad you could join in. I hope you can stop by again this week.

    1. Thanks, kewkew from the Little Learning Link Up! These ideas are from my OT days, and are designed to help kids who struggle with handwriting. Have a good week,

  6. Replies
    1. You are most welcome, Ryann. Hope they are a real help to your child.


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