If you're a parent or caregiver eager to help your child hone their handwriting skills, you're in the right place! Join us on a captivating journey as we explore five effective and enjoyable ways to transform your child's penmanship right in the comfort of your home. From everyday writing adventures to sensory and motor play and creative storytelling, we'll show you how to make handwriting practice an engaging and enriching experience for your little (or not so little) ones. Let's embark on this exciting quest to bring the magic of handwriting back to life, one stroke at a time!
- Play. Who knew handwriting practice would be so easy? Seriously, kids need more PLAY! They need to run, jump, climb, crawl to build up big muscles for good posture for writing. We love monkey bars, animal walks such as bear walk or crab walk, hopscotch, and more to get those tummy and shoulder muscles strong. The stronger our core, the more stability we have with writing. And our kids need to pinch, grab, squeeze, push, pull, and more to build up their tiny hand muscles too! We love stringing beads, using chopsticks or clothespin during games, playing with clay or playdough, and using board games with tiny pieces such as Lite Brite, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, and more. These activities help build up your child’s fine motor skills for writing, so their hand strength, coordination, and dexterity, all of which are essential for good pencil grasp and smooth movements during writing.
- Everyday writing opportunities. Listen, kids LOVE to feel like a grown-up and be “helpers” with adult tasks. Why not let your child practice their handwriting in those mundane everyday tasks. Need a grocery list written out? Have your kiddo write it. You might need to help with spelling (or teach them to use Alexa ;), but they are practicing letter formation and sizing and line placement just through this simple task that needs to get done anyway! You can also have your child help you make other lists, such as chore lists or holiday shopping lists, really anything you can come up with that might motivate them. Celebrate their engagement in writing even if it is a bit messy or hard to read. You can also use this as an opportunity to see what letters they need extra practice on.
- Arts and crafts. This is one of the simplest ways to practice handwriting, but also the one we often forget about. First, arts and crafts are easily accessible, who doesn’t have glue, scissors, markers and crayons laying around?! Second, engaging in arts and crafts is working on SO many skills for writing: fine motor skills, sustained attention, bilateral skills, grasp on coloring or painting tools, and so much more. Often kids need some help getting started (particularly if they prefer screens!), but once you get them going on a good art project you can see their creativity blossom and know that they are building foundational skills for handwriting.
- Multisensory practice. We’ve built up your child’s foundational skills for writing and given them oodles of opportunities for practice. Now let’s fine tune their handwriting using multisensory strategies. This is NOT your redundant copying and tracing 30 words or sentences! You want to think of all the ways you can pull in the 5 senses when practicing handwriting. Touch: let’s have the child build letters using various 3-D materials such as sticks, wiki stix, or pipe cleaners. See: let’s have your child use difference styles of lined paper to write their words on to work on line placement. Hear: let’s sing songs about the alphabet, where to start their letters, or how to form letters. Smell/Taste: let’s use scented markers or write letters in food substances like pudding or whipped cream. These are just a few of the MANY ways to engage the senses while your child practices handwriting. Engaging the senses leads to better retention and FUN!
- Journaling. Now that we have built up their skills and legibility, let’s use journaling as a way to practice handwriting while also gaining the mental health benefits from it. Your child not into journaling? For younger kids, have them draw out their story or feelings. For older kids, get a penpal so they can write letters back and forth. Journaling has benefits WAY beyond practicing handwriting. And starting journaling at an early age can lead to a lifelong love for writing.
Bonus: Because who doesn’t want another strategy for practicing handwriting at home?! Short on time and just want quality handwriting instruction done for you? Sign up for the waitlist for handwriting camp on demand to get quality handwriting instruction right at your fingertips https://www.handwritingsolutions.org/ondemand.
In conclusion, nurturing your child's handwriting skills at home doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right mix of creativity and consistency, you can turn it into a delightful and educational adventure. Remember that each child progresses at their own pace, so be patient, provide encouragement, and celebrate every small achievement along the way. As you incorporate these five engaging methods into your daily routine, you'll not only witness an improvement in your child's handwriting but also foster their love for learning and self-expression. So, grab those supplies and embark on this rewarding journey to help your child master the art of handwriting with confidence and enthusiasm.
Kelli Fetter is a Certified Handwriting Specialist and the founder of Handwriting Solutions, LLC providing handwriting tutoring virtually and in-person. She practiced as an occupational therapist in pediatric outpatient, early intervention, preschools, and private schools. She also served as adjunct professor teaching pediatrics and kinesiology. Kelli has extensive training in handwriting and dysgraphia. Kelli’s passion is driven by her own daughter’s dyslexia & dysgraphia journey.