My 5 Favourite Activities to develop Handwriting Skills

In our digital age, handwritten things are becoming more and more uncommon. Despite this, our children still have to learn this basic skill and to do it they need a variety of basic underlying skills. Fifteen according to Scribble2script

Fine motor skills are one of the most vital in handwriting as it is the coordination of the small muscles with each other and our eyes. Notably they are the muscles in our hands, fingers, eyes, feet and toes.

As I mentioned Somedays I just Wonder– J has some fine motor issues. I’ve known that. He only learnt to use a pair of scissors after he was four. His nursery that he attended was more academically focussed than creative or play focussed and so his fine (and gross) motor skills aren’t wonderful.

So here are 5 activities that I am using with him to develop the skills that he needs to write.

Play Dough
Playdough fun

I love play dough. I make my own which lasts about a month. The children love creating things, making ‘biscuits’ or as in the most recent session- dinosaur clothes. I have a bag of cutters etc and they all have a ball.Surprisingly I suspect that K loves it the most despite being 10!

If you don’t fancy making your own- you can buy some quite cheaply from Amazon and they have an amazing range of play dough toys and sets.

Handwriting Skills Developed:
Fine motor coordination
Tactile perception
Spatial awareness
Crossing the midline
Motor planning
Organised physical movements.

Cutting

This one seems so obvious.
To start the cutting can be simple cuts on a page.
Leading onto cutting a page in half.
To cutting out large shapes.
To following a line.
To cutting out small shapes.

Sometimes, it might be helpful to buy the “scissors that bounce back”. This will enable a child whose fine motor skills aren’t very strong to use the stronger set while the weaker ones are still developing.

When the child is ready, then purchase a pair of child scissors. Please be careful on your choice. It is incredibly frustrating for a child to try and cut with a pair of scissors that are so child safe they don’t cut!Or for that matter aren’t correct. If your child is a ‘lefty’ please try and buy him a pair of ‘lefty’ scissors. It will make his life SO much easier.

It is also a wonderful opportunity to teach a child of the importance of walking and holding a pair of scissors safely.

Handwriting Skills Developed:
Fine motor coordination
Spatial awareness
Crossing the midline
Motor planning
Organised physical movements.
Hand eye coordination
Visual focussing
Mental attention
Tactile input

Paper Manipulation
Paper activities

I don’t mean origami here- though that would fall into this category.
I’m thinking paper tearing, paper folding and attaching it together through sticky tape, glue or stickers.

Like cutting the tears start simple and progresses-
Simple tears on a page or tearing bits off a paper ribbon or streamer.
Leading onto tearing a page in half.
To tearing out large shapes.
To tearing strips.
To tearing out small shapes.

Paper folding again has various levels starting with basic folds- fold, in half, corner to corner etc, moving up to origami at its highest level. There are even some lovely simple origami that the children can do- like the Origami Santa

Handwriting Skills Developed:

Fine motor coordination
Spatial awareness
Crossing the midline
Motor planning
Organised physical movements.
Hand eye coordination
Visual focussing
Mental attention
Tactile input

Cooking

J loves cooking so I’m using this one a lot as it’s easier to engage him this way.
I love the program on CBeebies entitled “I can cook” and the choice of words that Katie uses to help the children to mix their foods. The ‘tickle’ the flour and butter together. Isn’t that just a great way to get the children to visualise how their fingers should be moving and doesn’t that just explain beautifully how the fine motor skills are being used.
Cooking also introduces a variety of textures. From handling meat, to dough to bread to fruit and veggies.
Hopefully too, the reluctant eater will be more keen to try something that they’ve made. (I say hopefully as J loves cooking and giving his food for us to try!)

The ‘Children’s Step by Step Cookbook’ by Angela Wilkes is is our favourite children’s cook book. It has a variety of recipes fom snacks and treats to easy meals.

Handwriting Skills Developed:

Fine motor coordination
Gross motor skills.
Spatial awareness
Crossing the midline
Motor planning
Organised physical movements.
Hand eye coordination
Visual focussing
Mental attention
Tactile input
Measuring skills.
Number recognition.
Introduction to reading (by reading recipes)
Cooking skills- cutting, sautéeing, folding etc.

Lego

Lego is an amazing ‘toy’ that can be used to develop all sorts of skills.
Building from a set of instructions requires (and so develops) visual focussing, concentration, number recognition, matching, motor planning, organised physical movements and hand eye coordination.
Building a creation of ones own design requires most of the above as well as creativity, planning, and problem solving.
Playing with the creations develops role play, imagination, crossing the mid line, fine and gross motor skills, hand eye coordination
And so, I’m sure, I could go on.
It is also not just limited to the younger children. I made this labyrinth, so J could manipulate it and get the marble through. (Another great activity for various skills).

Labyrinth

It definitely challenged my creative problem solving skills as I worked out a route for the marble to take and make it challenging for J.
I got the idea for this (and lots more great Lego ideas) from Frugal Fun 4 Boys.

Handwriting Skills Developed:
Fine motor coordination
Spatial awareness
Crossing the midline
Motor planning
Organised physical movements.
Hand eye coordination
Visual focussing
Mental attention
Tactile input
Gross Motor Coordination
Problem solving
Number recognition
Following instructions
Imagination
Creativity

So those are My 5 favourite activities to develop my sons handwriting skills.

What are yours?

About Cheryl

I am a child of God, a wife and a mother of 4 children. Some days are good. Some days are frustrating. Some days are just plain insane. In between the mayhem, I loved to go for walks with our mutt, potter in the garden and enjoy the beauty that surrounded us. That all changed in August 2012 when we waved goodbye to our mutt and garden, our eldest at Uni in Gloucester and moved to Tokyo for 4 months. And yes- we are still here...
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