I have worked with preschoolers for many years and have noticed a decline in their fine motor skills as technology became more and more popular with the little ones. I mean, think about how many preschoolers you know with a tablet. Probably quite a few. I am not saying that it is wrong to have one, just simply limiting the time and activities on the device. Children have fewer opportunities to participate in activities that will strengthen their little hands, and because of that, I have found writing to be a challenge due to a lack of muscle strength in their hands.
After making the connection between the increased use of electronic devices and low muscle tone in hands, I began to implement strategies to develop their pencil grip in my classroom and I have also used these strategies with my children at home.
Access to Materials: Create space in your home for your child to independently access paper and a variety of writing tools. Whenever your child wants to doodle, write, or color, he or she can go to the writing station. Consider putting a basket in multiple rooms in your home if possible.
Hand Strength: Implement activities that will strengthen the hands such as playdough or clay, buttoning, snapping, zipping, cutting, and stringing small beads onto an old shoestring. You can also let your child cut straws to use for stringing.
Writing Prompts Together, discuss your child's interests and then create a writing prompt based on the interest. Write each on a small piece of paper which you will later place into a 'writing jar'. You can also add a few additional topics into the jar. Every day, your child will pull a piece of paper out and that will be their writing prompt. Encourage your child to draw or write to respond to the prompt.
Practice Makes Perfect: Like anything that you do, you must practice in order to see results. Writing every day is ideal. It can be as simple as letting your child write or trace his or her name daily. A little pencil grip practice goes a long way. In my PreK class, my students visit the writing center every morning to write their name and at the end of every month, they write their name on these sheets (see below). I staple it on the board adding a new sheet every month. At the end of the year, they go home with a book from September through June showing the improvement of their handwriting. Cute little keepsake.
This is a double sheet and is great for making multiple copies for a class.
Like the name writing sheets? You can use this in your classroom or home if you're homeschooling. Download a free copy here.
Hi, I am Odessa. I'm a mom of two wonderful children and a teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Science in Childhood Education with over 10 years of PreK and Kindergarten experience. I am a lover of all things literacy for children and their curiosity of the world. Get comfy and click around my site. I hope you find something you'll like, and something your kids will love! P.S. Akwaaba means 'welcome' :)
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