Improving pencil grip…
Correct pencil grip is one of most important factors in developing fine motor skills of every child. For wide variety of reasons many kids hold pencils and other drawing tools awkwardly, with too many fingers, with wrongly placed fingers (for instance with a thumb on the top or bottom of other fingers), with crooked wrist and so on.
All these incorrect techniques learned in early age can be a problem in later developmental stages, typically shown in grade school at learning to write letters. Children with incorrect pencil grasp development can have pretty hard time in school for very simple reason – their hands become tired much sooner than they should be.
Most parents know about tripod pencil grip which can be easier to achieve with triangle pencils pencils. There is also quadropod pencil grip (with additional support of the pencil by ring finger) which is also marked as ‘correct’, although it allows slightly lower mobility.
How to help a kid with crooked grasp or any other problematic sort of grip?
First we should know how old is a child. If it already knows how to write, if doesn’t have problems with speed, if the grip is not painful or limit child’s abilities to write in any other way, don’t waste time and energy on fixing something what apparently already works well.
For younger children is probably worth a try to improve the grip. But there is still one simple rule: don’t force, make it playful. There are numerous tools (triangle pencil is just a start) which can be used to achieve the ultimate goal and couple of nice little helpers are shown in the video below:
In the same video you can also learn how to make one of these powerful tools in very simple way.
And there are few specific exercises which proved to help improving pencil grip through many years of experience. Remember, this is only a small selection. You probably already know how can making different objects from playdough or stringing beads improve a grasp. All hand play activities can be helpful and every child is a specific story.
1. Use clothes pegs, plastic tweezers to pick small objects like beans, grains, coins or pebbles. Pick them from the tale and release them in a bottle. This should be done with thumb and index finger, not with thumb and any of other fingers! If you want to make it more difficult, mix two sorts of objects and tell the kid to sort two bottles. Something similar Cinderella had to do if she wanted to the ball.
2. Tearing and crumpling paper is great exercise for strengthening different groups of muscles of one’s hand. Pieces of paper can be used it all sorts of projects. Kids will make a ball spontaneously. To add a bit of difficultness, encourage him to make it with one hand only. Then with the other hand. And finally with fingers only.
3. With scissors a whole new world of activities opens. Kids love to cut out different shapes from magazines, or simply cut paper to pieces. Next step is of course to sort small pieces by colors and shapes and glue them into interesting mosaics.
4. Talking about mosaics – collect a lot of pebbles, sort them by colors and try to make a mandala. You can start with a nice picture, drawn with a chalk. Drawing with chalks on the pavement or similar surface is great to develop proper hand movements with a whole hand what can be gradually transferred in fine motor skills.
5. Transfer water from full container to the empty container with a sponge or more sponges. This is great exercise for strengthen a wrist. Toys like Lego bricks, playing cards, puzzles will improve fine motor skills in variety of ways as well.
6. Coloring pages are great way to measure the progress. If you can put them on vertical surface, different muscles will have to cooperate and fine motor skills will improve accordingly. Using short pencils or crayons will force children to use their fingers more efficiently.
Would you like to share your experience with our readers?