by Ginny Rieger
Handwriting, handwriting, handwriting. We used to call this penmanship, and would even have time in class to work on our penmanship. I do believe penmanship, now known as handwriting, is becoming a lost art. This may be due to the new world of technology as we communicate more and more over devices. Handwriting is still important and a skill that children need.
The prerequisites for handwriting are pinch grasp, small muscle development, utensil use, open web space, basic stroke formation, letter recognition, posture, and orientation to the language. These are all skills that develop through the completion of other activities, often during play. Today I am going to share with you activities that can help develop handwriting skills at home.
- Rubber band activities: Rubber bands are a great tool for strengthening activities. I personally like placing rubber bands on a spike ball then having the child remove the rubber bands. They can also place the rubber bands depending on their skill level. Another classic rubber band activity is creating designs on geoboards. We don’t all have geoboards lying around, so an at-home version of a geoboard is using the bottom of an egg carton. To make this activity fun you can make a design on your geoboard, then have the child copy your design on their geoboard.
- Break the ice: This is an inexpensive activity working on pinch grasp. All you need is a small cup, 3 dice, a kleenex, a rubber band and some toothpicks. Once you have the ‘board’ set up, you will roll a dice to determine how many holes to poke in the kleenex. If your dice is the last dice standing, you win.
- Spider activity: This is a fun Halloween activity. You will need a laundry basket, yarn, plastic spiders, and tweezers. Start by building a ‘spider web’ with yarn, stringing it through the holes in the basket. Then place the spiders in the bottom of the basket. Once the spiders are set up in the bottom of the basket, you will have the child pick out the spiders using the tweezers.
- Cotton ball painting: This is just how it sounds. Instead of using paint brushes the kids can use cotton balls or q-tips to paint with. This activity is great for pinching, building strengthening and coordination needed for handwriting.
These are quick, fun activities that can keep your kiddos busy as we move into the colder months. Handwriting is a good skill to learn, and is necessary for success in school. They are also helpful for other fine motor skills like typing, and self care skills like zipping or buttoning.