In our classrooms we work a lot on developing fine motor skills. Working out those tiny hands to strengthen their finger mobility and strength is so important before we can even begin writing pencil to paper. Many parents ask for recommendations on how to get their preschooler to practice writing, its as simple as just letting them have a piece of paper and a writing tool and letting them free write. A lot of kiddos really enjoy doing just that! But, I wanted to offer some other ways to work on building up those fine motor skills that help with writing at home that are simple and enjoyable.
- While having outside time, have your preschooler find a stick and have them practice writing in the dirt/mud/sand! This is a great way to work on writing that can strengthen hand muscles, as there is a small bit of resistance when writing into these different mediums. Your kiddo could spell out their name, letters, numbers, and practice drawing shapes or pictures.
- If you have started to prepare for Easter and have some of the plastic eggs on hand you can have your kiddo open and close eggs. Those are a challenge and are awesome to work on hand strength. If you have a few, put a cotton ball inside one of the eggs and have your child open eggs to find the hidden cotton ball. You could take turns hiding it and opening the eggs and I bet y’all loose count of how many you have opened/closed by the end!
- Spring Clean up outside is another opportunity for your preschooler to get some fine motor practice in. As you are sprucing up your yard as it gets warmer, have your child take kid scissors to the dead grass, bush, sticks, whatever else you don’t mind them cutting up. Kids LOVE to use scissors. Another important skill to master in itself, but another way to exercise that hand. Let them cut and explore the different textures as it’s a fun experience and they really will love it.
- Chalk! Yes, don’t forget about the chalk. Such an easy medium for kids to use to promote writing. I let my kiddos write and draw on our trampoline and they absolutely love it! Washes away quick and easy too. Try rainbow writing, where the child traces over their name/word/shape in one color and switches to another color tracing over the initial markings with a new color. Continue to trace the markings in multiple color layers.
When writing skills are a focus, its not just about paper to pencil. Working on the strengthening on those tiny hand muscles has to come first and still need to be worked on even after your preschooler beings to write independently. Really makes holding the pencil a lot easier in order to be able to gain better control.
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher