Learning to write and developing a good pencil grasp or handwriting starts much earlier than when a child starts writing. Handwriting is more than just learning how to hold a pencil correctly and write neatly. Children need plenty of practise scribbling before they learn to write. And while copywriting books might seem like the only way to help them with writing practice, there are many simple, effective and fun activities to help them develop fine motor skills that aid writing and learning too. While you can argue that children are getting tech-friendly at a much younger age and the future holds only tabs and typing, handwriting will always be an essential skill they need to learn.
Here are some fun activities to give your child plenty of practice with fine motor skills that are essential to develop writing skills
You might wonder if this simple activity of scrunching paper into a ball helps in any way at all. But this humble and inexpensive activity involves a lot of fine motor skills as children move their fingers and apply pressure to make a ball out of paper. Gather sheets of old newspaper and show your child how to scrunch it into a ball. If you want to make it more fun, head to our Brilliant Basketballer Activity for more ideas. Yet to find a kid who doesn’t enjoy scrunching paper.
This clay-like soft material might just be the most versatile medium when it comes to planning activities for children. It ought to be the best toy invention for preschoolers. Not only can children get plenty of practice developing fine motor skills squishing dough and forming them into various shapes, but they can also use them to shape into long snakes and form letters and numbers. On a large sheet of paper, write a number or letter for your child to learn. Form a snake with some playdough and help your child shape it into the letter you’ve written by placing the dough over it. Let them roll the dough into long snakes and form letters and numbers by bending and joining pieces of dough together
I know the mention of paint and preschoolers in the same sentence can usually mean a bit of a mess, but this activity is fairly easy and mess-free to a large extent. This can also help children improve their pincer grasp, which is essential to developing writing skills. My children enjoyed this technique to learn numbers, simply because it involved paint and I didn’t mind it much because it wasn’t as messy as I imagined. Win-Win. On a large sheet of paper, write numbers or letters you want your child to learn. Put a little bit of paint in a small bowl. Demonstrate to your child, how they can dip the earbuds in the paint and trace over the letters or numbers on the page.
Playing with sand is immensely enjoyable for children and you can use this interest to get them to practice writing letters, numbers and draw. Simply put some fine sand in a box and guide your child to trace shapes, numbers and letters. If you aren’t comfortable with sand or are unable to get your hands on some, you can practice this activity using wheat flour, semolina or grains on a plate.
Using and opening a clothespin takes quite a bit of finger muscle strength and this can be a good exercise to strengthen muscles. You can get creative on how you want to incorporate this into an activity. You can get children to open and put them on the rim of a vessel or get them to count objects and mark the correct answer by placing the clothespin on the written number, on a piece of paper.
I was quite surprised to read that children can be introduced to exploring and learning with a pair of scissors as young as 2, of course under supervision. While you can’t expect preschoolers to be cutting out complex shapes right away, they can practice using a pair of scissors, by using them to cut playdough or cooked pasta. They can then move on to cutting snips on paper. Remember at all times, to encourage using a thumbs-up position while holding the scissors.
Again, paints, I know, but your child will squeal with joy as they dip their tiny fingers into wet paint and dab paint on all over a shape traced on paper. The benefits? Not only will it give them practice with eye-hand coordination but is also a great sensory play activity for your child.
The key to developing good handwriting skills lies in children using their hands for a lot of non-writing activities. Developing good fine motor skills can also help with writing and better pencil grip. These simple activities above can tremendously help your child develop good writing skills. Does your child have a favourite? We’d love to hear.