All kids need to eventually learn to write, but not all kids are naturally good at it! That's ok - there are plenty of activities to help with this. I am so glad you can join me for Part 1 of this series. Be sure to sign up with your email so you don't miss the rest...
Before you even show your child a worksheet or a pencil, there are some wonderful, simple, activities you can do to set them up for success.
The main goal of most of these activities is to work on hand strength. Without strong hands, handwriting will just be torture for everyone - so it's so very important to not skip this step!
One of the best (and simplest) hand strengthening activities that is kid and teacher approved is:
You can easily purchase some if you are short on time, or make your own batch with one of my favorite recipes:
The recipe above makes one big ball of playdough. You can make several batches in different colors or scents, or make one big amount in one color. For a classroom full of kids, I like to multiply the above recipe by 8. We really like to get those hands strong!
I also recommend getting some fun tools for playing with it. Here are some I would recommend:
I really cannot recommend working with playdough as a hand strengthening skill highly enough! You might notice that one of the toys recommended above is playdough scissors. This leads me to another great activity to get those little hands stronger:
Scissor cutting is such an important skill for kids. It is really a great way to help strengthen little hands AND they will have to be good at it for kindergarten and beyond anyway.
Of course, it is very necessary to supervise little ones with scissors at all times. We don't want them to practice on their clothes or hair!
There are some fun books recommended above, but you can always have them practice on ads, old magazines, junk mail, etc, too.
Please help to make sure that your little one cuts with his/her thumb on top ("Thumbs up" we say in our classroom). You definitely want to get them started with the proper habits.
If you have a little one who finds cutting especially challenging, I recommend getting some scissors that makes the task a little easier like these:
We really like these in our classroom for kids who struggle with regular scissors. Of course, they will eventually need to move on to "regular" kid scissors, but the little spring action to help the scissors open back up after each cut really makes the job easier to learn. Let's be honest, if cutting is a super horrible chore for a kid with weak hands, then they will never want to do it! Best to make it fun and challenge them more when they are ready.
In addition to playdough and scissor cutting, I highly recommend children working with other small manipulatives (provided they are done putting little things in their mouths for choking safety ~ or at least make sure to give ample supervision).
One of the simplest activities, is to have them make necklaces or bracelets with pony beads:
For beginners, I highly recommend making bracelets on pipe cleaners:
We often like to trim a couple inches off the end of the pipe cleaner before a child makes a bracelet so you don't end up with a leg-size bracelet! You definitely want to twist a bead onto one end first, too, so the beads do not slide off as they make the bracelet. You don't want to end up with an empty pipe cleaner half way through and a sad child.
As children gain better fine motor skills, and more finger strength, it is lovely to make necklaces, too. I really enjoy using some cording as it is pretty strong and does not tend to fray (which would be so oh-so-frustrating for someone learning how to bead!). Here is one I like since it goes well with any bead colors:
Once again, I definitely recommend tying one bead onto an end of the string so you don't have sad kids when all of their work comes tumbling off one end.
If you are looking for some other fun beads for different themes, here are a few more that we have personally enjoyed:
Of course, there are many more choices out there, but these are some we like. Kids really enjoy the different shapes and bright colors.
I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 of my Making Handwriting Simple & Easy post. Sign up with your email to follow me to make sure you don't miss Part 2!! I have so much more to share. xoxo
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