4 FUN Ways to Help your Young Handwriter

Summary:  How to encourage your child's handwriting skills through a playful approach, based on my Occupational Therapy experience.  This article includes tips for fine motor play, strengthening, developing mature grasp patterns for handwriting and more.  #homeschool #handwriting

Do you have a child who is just starting to learn to write?  

Or do you have a child who is struggling with handwriting?  Do they hold their pencil in an awkward manner, hold it very tightly, or just hate to write?

Today, I'd like to share 4 different types of activities that may help your struggling handwriters.  And most of these ideas do not involve handwriting at all!   They include helpful activities to build good:

1.  -- Fine motor skills
2.  -- Mature grasp patterns
3.  -- Postural control and shoulder strength
4.  -- Visual perceptual skills

If your child is struggling with handwriting, they are likely to have problems in one or more of each of these areas listed above.

And they can improve their handwriting by working and playing with the activities discussed below.

Each activity is fun and play based. They come from my work as an OT, and also from my time homeschooling. 

I hope they will be a help to you as you encourage and guide your young handwriter.  

First, let's look at fine motor skills.

1.  Fine Motor Activities

The first thing that we usually look at when there is a handwriting problem is small muscle coordination.  Does your child lack hand strength or small muscle coordination?  
If so, the post below includes a number of clever and easy to do games for developing fine motor skills. 

Small Muscles Games 

Click here for lots more ideas for fine motor coordination--Small Muscles Games

Then, if your child needs to strengthen their hand and finger muscles, Oak Meadow has a number of ideas for doing that with clay, below.  These may appeal to the older child as well.

For hand strengthening click Developing Hand Strength with Clay Activities. 

Next, let's talk about how your child holds her pencil, or grasp patterns.

2.  Grasp Patterns

Does your child have a very awkward grasp of their pencil?  Do they hold it with their whole hand?  Or do they have a tight grip on their pencil?

The post below explains what a mature grasp pattern is, and shows many ways to encourage that, through playful games.  

These fun activities are all designed to encourage a fine pincer grasp.  And when your child uses that kind of grasp, writing will become so much easier.  Click the link below for much more on grasp activities.

9 Ways to a Mature Grasp - Games and Fun!

There are many variations on the theme, re mature grasp patterns, so if your child develops one that is not quite the same as the photos show, that is ok.  

The idea is to find a grip that decrease the effort and pressure when writing.

Some kids do better using a grasp aid or device.  Here are a number of them, offered by Draw Your World.  If you see one that you would like to try, I recommend googling it.  There are many devices on the market now.

For more on Aids/Devices for Grasp just click this link.

Another thing to think about is your child's posture when writing.  

3.  Postural Control and Shoulder Strength

When our kids struggle with handwriting, we usually think about doing small muscle activities, but sometimes that is really not the problem.

When we write we need good postural control, which refers to strength in the core muscles of the trunk.  And the shoulder muscles are also important to handwriting.  How can we help our kids develop these foundational skills when they don't have them?

Play Pack Gross Motor Cards have some easy to do activities that can help.  More info on this here.

Click here for those activity ideas that can help build postural control and more in your kiddos.

And lastly, here's some ways to help kids who struggle with visual perception, also key to handwriting success.

4.  Visual Perceptual Skills 

Visual perception is not fully developed until age 9.  That can make learning to write and staying within the lines.. SO hard for kids.  

If you child's writing is all over the page, writing guides discussed below may really help.  

Click the title below to learn about these simple-to-make writing guides: 

Helping Struggling Handwriters 

So we have discussed four different things that may help your struggling hand writer, including:

- developing small muscle coordination and strength
- encouraging a mature grasp pattern
- developing core strength and shoulder strength
- compensating for visual perception issues

I recommend scrolling through whichever topic or activity speaks to you,  and start with one of two activities at a time.  

What have you found to be helpful for your struggling handwriters?  I so love to read your comments.  It makes my day!  

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her college grad, whom she homeschooled from preK 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

Want to stay in touch?

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.

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  1. Some great ideas, thank you! I found your post on the Hip Homeschool Hop. :) I'll have to try some of your visual perception tips. x

  2. Thank you for stopping by, from Secret Life of a Homeschooler! I hope that some of these ideas help you young handwriter. And I would love to hear how they did, and what helped them. Feel free to comment again on this post on my facebook page. Have a good rest of the week,

  3. Thank you for linking up with us on What to Read Wednesday and sharing your fun ideas!

    1. Thanks, Anne Campbell, and thanks for hosting the What to Read Wednesday blog hop!


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