Getting little hands ready for writing?


Which skills are important for writing?

  • Postural control Being able to keep my body upright in the chair and to sit still
  • Vision To be able to see what I am writing
  • Eye muscles The muscles of my eyes should be able to work together or my writing will blur
  • In-hand manipulation skills To be able to hold and manipulate the pencil in my hand
  • Finger and hand strength My fingers should be strong enough the hold the pencil and not get tired when I write
  • Fine eye-hand coordination To be able write neatly and accurately
  • Visio-motor integration To copy work from the blackboard or textbook
  • Dynamic tripod grip To hold the pencil correctly for optimum manipulation and that my hand won’t get tired when writing
  • Bilateral integration My non-dominant hand should support the paper while I writeWriting Skills
  • Midline-crossing To be able to cross the imaginary midline of the body
  • Hand dominance To have one hand that is dominant when performing fine coordination tasks
  • Visual perception The building-blocks for reading, writing and maths: discrimination, memory, sequential memory, foreground-background, form constancy, spatial relations and position in space
  • Visual focus To be able to sit still and focus on a task for 10 minutes

How will I know if my child isn’t ready for formal writing?

  • Find it difficult to sit still for less than 10 minutes
  • Complains that their hand gets tired when colouring/drawing
  • Have an awkward pencil grip
  • Rub their eyes when having to focus on table-top work and/or complains or headaches
  • Uses their whole hand to manipulate objects instead of just some fingers
  • Struggles with fine motor tasks e.g. colouring, cutting, threading beads
  • Hasn’t chosen one hand as dominant
  • Still doesn’t know his shapes/colours/body parts
  • Cannot sit still and focus on a task for 10 minutes
  • Struggles to copy work
  • Has messy/untidy writing/drawing skills
  • Cannot yet write his/her name
  • Struggles to perform tasks where 2 hands must work in a coordinated way
  • Cannot build a 15 piece puzzle yet
  • Cannot copy a triangle and diamond
  • Cannot cut a 9cm square accurately on the line
  • Cannot draw a recognizable person with finer details

Activity ideas to get the hands ready for writing

  • Manipulate objects with the thumb and each finger e.g. sort all the blue beads using the thumb and index finger/sort all the circles using your thumb and middle finger, etc.
  • Pegboard tasks
  • Fastening and unfastening buttons
  • Colouring tasks
  • Putting money into a money box
  • Manipulating play dough – making snakes, rolling balls, etc.
  • Threading beads Start with big beads and grade to smaller beads as your child’s ability improves
  • Tearing paper into small strips or tearing paper on a pre-draw lines/shapes
  • Lacing activities
  • Cutting with scissorsGetting Hands Ready For Writing
  • Start with straight lines and no detail to pictures with wavy lines and fine detail
  • Shoot marbles using each finger of both hands
  • Placing washing pegs onto cardboard
  • Picking up small objects e.g. small beads with fingers and putting it into a bottle
  • Playing with Lego’s This with strengthen hand and finger muscles
  • Doing daily eye-muscle exercises
  • Improving your child’s visual perceptual skills
  • Picking up small objects using a tweezer
  • Dot-to-dot activities
  • Spray with a spray bottle by using one the first 3 fingers of the hand
  • Put clothing pins onto a surface using each finger with the thumb
  • Fasten nuts onto bots using the first three fingers
  • Hold a toothpick and make a hole into clay/paper

References
https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/writing/writing-readiness-pre-writing-skills/
https://sites.google.com/site/smallschoolot/information-for-teachers/activities-to-improve-hand-skills
https://handsonaswegrow.com/fine-motor-skills-activities/