Ready for Handwriting with Young Children

Helping with handwriting difficulties have been the most frequent request for occupational therapy services in schools. Students may not use enough pressure with their pencils. Making simple up and down strokes, circles or diagonal lines can be a challenge. Students may become very frustrated just trying to write their name. There can be many reasons for handwriting difficulties and there are several ways to promote skills that help prevent frustration.

Hands need to co-operate
The following activities require both hands to work together:
*raking leaves
*sweeping the floor
*opening and closing a jar
*peeling and placing stickers
*cutting or snipping
*tug of war
*twisting open or closing a tube of toothpaste
*lacing cards

Understanding what is up-down-right-left-top-bottom-diagonal:
*Play “Simon Says” and “Hokey Pokey” and “Twister” games that use direction actions
*Make an obstacle course and focus on turning left or right
*Use an easel or giant post-it paper on a wall-give clear directions for locating the top and bottom of the paper
*Make giant rainbows using wide paper with paints, or dry erase boards
* Verbally describe drawing shapes with direction words
*Play tic-tac-toe on large graph paper-help students make an “X” by placing dots in the corners

Have students practice tracing in several different formats
*Finger tracing shapes and basic strokes made with sand, yarn, glue, rice, wiki sticks
*Tracing over shapes and basic strokes made with wide lines using different color markers or use Over Writer markers
*Gluing items like cotton balls, noodles, beans, dried peas, foam packing peanuts, waded tissue paper, yarn, etc. over pre-drawn lines and shapes
*Placing stickers, stamping, Do-A-Dot markers, ripped sticky tape, wiki sticks on pre-drawn lines and shapes
*Demonstrate using simple mazes and shape dot-to-dot sheets

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