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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 coordination, hand strengthening, developing mature grasp patterns for handwriting, postural control and visual perception skills. Take a playful approach to helping your struggling handwriter! Great for homeschooled children.
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?
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.
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.
Nine FUN Ways to a Mature Grasp
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 here to learn about these simple to use writing guides - Helping Struggling Handwriters.
So we have discussed four different things that may help your struggling handwriter, 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!
With my daughter working independently in college, I now have lots of free time to answer questions from you all. Please feel free to shoot me a question of two, through the comments on my blog posts, on my facebook page, in a private message, or as a comment there, too.