How To: Teach Your Child to Write the Right Way

Young Boy Writing On EaselHandwriting is a very complex process that requires many prerequisite skills and abilities before it can be done successfully and easily. Some of these skills and abilities include the development of the small muscles in the hand, pencil/marker grasp, eye-hand coordination, the ability to draw shapes and lines, and visual perceptual skills.

For beginner writers, emphasis is placed on learning how to hold a pencil or marker, getting accustomed to making strokes on paper and beginning to form meaning out of what is drawn (for example, a loop is defined as a circle). The early writer learns to write first by imitating various strokes (horizontal line, vertical line, circle) , then copying the same strokes from a visual example and eventually drawing and writing independently. Below are preparatory activities your child can do to help them begin to write the right way!

Activities to develop the Small Muscles of the Hands

  • Play with modeling clay or Play-doh
  • Link together and pull apart snap beads
  • Crumple paper into a ball with one or both hands
  • Put on plays using finger puppets
  • Build something out of Legos
  • Clip items to a rope with clothespins
  • Feed coins or buttons to the tennis ball that you have Cut a 2” slit into (you can make the ball into a face and have the slit be the mouth)
  • Squeeze a water bottle (or spray bottle) and have a water fight outside
  • Swing across monkey bars or hang from a trapeze

Activities to improve Pencil/Marker Grasp

  • Practice drawing and writing in a standing position with the paper on a vertical surface
  • Practice using utensils during meal time
  • Color with chalk on the sidewalk
  • Use tweezers to pick up objects

Activities to strengthen Eye Hand Coordination

  • Complete dot-to-dots and mazes
  • Color pictures from coloring books with emphasis on staying in the lines
  • Do lacing activities
  • Copy 2-D block designs using building blocks

Activities to Practice Drawing Shapes and Lines

  • Using a variety of media (sand, shaving cream, paint), Have your child imitate shapes and lines that you draw
  • Trace various shapes and lines
  • Use modeling clay to make shapes and lines

Activities to Address Visual Perceptual Skills

  • Find object in hidden picture activities
  • Match objects, shapes, and pictures
  • Figure out what comes next in the patterns you present to them
  • Play a game of Bingo
  • Play “I Spy” games
  • Complete Puzzles
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