So, let me give you some ideas for developing your child's fine motor skills in preparation for a good pencil grip and great penmanship!
1. Paper Chain
Cut strips of coloured paper; staple them into rings, linked together.
Cutting develops hand strength, particularly at the thumb and index finger, where you need good stability for pencil grip. Let your child use a small stapler, which he holds in his dominant (pencil) hand and uses his thumb and fingers to squeeze to do the stapling. Linking the pieces of paper is also good as it takes coordination and planning to hold them together to staple.
2. Paper Clip Chain
Buy a pack of coloured paper clips. Help your child to link them together to form a chain.
3. Make Mock Presents to Hang on the Tree
Use shiny paper to wrap empty matchboxes. Then use coloured string to tie pretty bows around them.
4. Snip-cut Tinsel
Use shiny paper and cut it into this strips (about 3 -4cm or 1 -2 inches wide). Your child simply snips along the length of each strip to make a fringe effect. This is a good one if your child is very young and just starting to be able to use scissors.
People often underestimate the importance of an efficient pencil grip. I have heard people say that with computers, our children will not need to write and so will not need to worry about pencil grip. The trouble is that for the foreseeable future, examinations will have to be in written form. My youngest daughter has just written a 4 hour exam. She has a good pencil grip and yet it still took about an hour before her poor thumb felt normal again!
3 hour and 4 hour exams in the higher levels of school and tertiary education, are still very much part of our educational system and if a child struggles to write comfortably because of an inefficient pencil grip or poor fine motor development, he will be very much disadvantaged. The process of writing should take minimal effort and no real thought, leaving all the thinking for the information asked for in the examination.
It is important to develop an efficient pencil grip in the early years of schooling because once an inefficient pencil grip has become established it is very hard indeed for your child to correct it. I have had some children come to me in later years, specially because they have asked their parents to help them change their pencil grip. With great effort and tremendous motivation, some of them have managed. Others still find that when the writing requirements become very pressured, such as in written examinations, they revert to the old, inefficient pencil grip, slowing them down, making the writing less legible and expending the energy they should have for thinking about their answers.
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" "And a merry Christmas to all", said Tiny Tim."
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