Creative play is a wonderful way to build hand, arm and shoulder strength, encourage fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and other pre-writing skills!
- Build hand, arm and shoulder strength. Encourage your child to draw, paint and create on a vertical surfaces–like an upright easel, the walls of the bathtub (try watercolors or bath crayons!), or a refrigerator or magnetic board. This position helps strengthen hand, wrist and shoulder strength, all of which are needed for writing.
- Strengthen fine motor skills. Lay the groundwork for proper pencil grip by strengthening the pincer grip now. Threading beads on a shoelace or pipe cleaner is one great skill-builder. Others include: jigsaw puzzles, peg puzzles,scissor crafts, fastening buttons, and sorting coins.
- Hand-eye coordination. Give your child lots of opportunities to pour, scoop and spoon objects from one container to another. Keep enthusiasm high by trying this with a variety of materials, such as water, sand, pompoms, dried beans, rice, flour and more.
- Build sensory awareness. Exploring letter forms in different ways helps the brain reinforce each shape in memory. Use texture to help highlight each curve and line as your child gains familiarity with the forms of the alphabet. Try having your child make lines, shapes and letters in shaving cream, sand, pudding, clay or salt!
- Strengthen visual spatial awareness. In writing, we have to be constantly aware of our hand’s position in relation to the paper, the relative position of letters and words and more. It’s a lot to coordinate! Strengthen this important skill with action songs like “The Hokey Pokey,” playing Follow the Leader, drawing an object in the room and playing with pattern blocks.