Ready to Write

Handwriting is a skill that is important throughout school. There are lots of fun ways to help preschool children develop the skills they need to be ready for learning handwriting when they begin school.

Find out what skills children need to learn handwriting and what ages they develop here, then read on for fun ways to help learn these skills.

How can I help my child to be ready to develop handwriting skills? There are lots of fun activities that you can do at home to develop your child's skills while playing or helping out with daily activities. It doesn't need to seem like hard work.

Help your child to develop gross motor skills to help develop trunk stability and shoulder control by:

  1. Playing wheelbarrow races
  2. Jumping on the trampoline
  3. Practicing yoga positions (rocket, tree, ninja)
  4. Swinging themselves on a swing
  5. Gym ball exercises
  6. Walking on stilts
  7. Playing twister
  8. Playng hopscotch
  9. Animal walks (duck, crab, kangaroo)
  10. Climbing on playgrounds

Give your child lots of opportunities to develop fine motor skills by:

  1. Doing craft activities such as painting, cutting and pasting, drawing, collage and stickers
  2. Playing with toys such as building and construction sets, Lego and threading beads
  3. Practicing aiming at a target, such as throwing bean bags or rolled up socks into a container, balls at a target drawn on a wall or through a hoop
  4. Playing games such as barrel of monkeys and jenga
  5. Playing with tweezers, eye droppers and squeeze bottles
  6. Playing with play dough, plasticine, putty and gloop
  7. Cooking together and cutting, rolling, mixing, stiring and pouring
  8. Playing with pipe cleaners and pegs
  9. Playing with sand and water, digging, pouring and building
  10. Threading beads, coloured pasta, cut up straws or cardboards shapes punched with a hole punch.

Provide opportunities for your child to practice paper and pencil activities such as:

  1. Drawing mazes
  2. Doing dot to dot puzzles
  3. Using puzzle books
  4. Searching google images for pictures of favourite characters, printing and colouring them
  5. Playing ipad drawing and tracing apps using a stylus pen
  6. Exploring different writing tools such as wiggle pens and scented textas
  7. Drawing with pencils in a tray filled with flattened plasticine
  8. Drawing on a white board
  9. Drawing with chalk on a chalk board, wall or concrete
  10. Painting with a brush and water on the ground or wall

Provide opportunities for your child to develop visual skills by:

  1. Doing jigsaws
  2. Playing ‘I Spy’ games and search and find books such as ‘Where’s Wally?’
  3. Looking at "spot the difference" pictures
  4. Playing "Guess Who?"
  5. Playing "Connect 4"
  6. Going on treasure hunts
  7. Doing tangram shape puzzles
  8. Sequencing patterns of shapes, toys, beads or coloured objects
  9. Catching and throwing balls
  10. Doing mazes or dot-to-dot puzzles

Develop your child's hand and finger strength by:

  1. Playing with play dough, clay or plasticine with a variety of tools.
  2. Cooking activities involving kneading and mixing, rolling, beating, sprinkling, decorating cakes or biscuits.
  3. Doing hole punching, stapling activities, stamping and stamp textas.
  4. Doing water play involving squeezing sponges, pouring cups and spray bottles. Spray flowers in the garden, fill with paint for a different art experience, knock small plastic animals down. encourage your child to use their index and middle fingers in the trigger.
  5. Playing games involving the use of tongs, teabag squeezers or tweezers. Fish for items such as sponges/ping pong balls in water, or move small objects from container to container (beads, peas, smarties, blocks. Pick up small items like mini marshmallows.
  6. Put pegs on a line or around the top of a container according to colour.
  7. Playing Games such as Trouble, Hungry Hippos and Beetle that invloce lots of firm pressing with fingers.
  8. Scrunching paper such as pages from old magazines. Scrunch paper into a ball and “shoot a hoop” into a washing basket or similar. Start with using two hands to scrunch then try one at a time. Tear paper or magazines and to make a collage
  9. Playing hammering and screwing activities (into soft wood or foam). Screwing/Unscrewing jars or containers. Place fun items inside such as craft materials or small toys. Play with wind up toys or a jack in the box.
  10. Doing constructional activities such as Lego, Duplo, Mecchano, Kinnex or Origami. Playing with elastic bands.

What can I do if I am concerned that my child may have difficulties with handwriting?

Occupational therapists can assess the underlying skills a child needs for handwriting and work out any areas where a child needs extra support. They can then provide activities specifically targeted at the child's needs and make recommendations about any special equipment that may help. For more information about how an occupational therapist can help your child click here.

Talking Matters is offering a range of group programs in the July school holidays including handwriting groups and school readiness groups. Details are on our website and bookings can be made by calling the office on (08) 8255 7137.

Our website has lots of occupational therapy information sheets to download on motor skills, sensory skills and daily living skills. There are also lots of great activity ideas on the Talking Matters Pinterest page.

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