Improving your child’s handwriting

Fun and simple activities

Although we live in a digital age, handwriting remains important. Writing by hand engages the brain and body differently to using a keyboard or screen. It can also be a more mindful way of learning as it requires one to slow down while they write, and this can improve the ability to retain information.

The multiple skills required is surprisingly intricate, as handwriting involves more than just the ability to hold a pencil. It needs:

  • The ability to sit upright;
  • To not fatigue too quickly;
  • To have eye-hand co-ordination to guide handwriting and to form letters with accurate proportions and spacing; and
  • To know how much pressure to apply to a pencil.

This is just to name a few!

For this reason, OT’s use a holistic approach to improve handwriting, as opposed to simply practicing handwriting. Activities aim to address the myriad of ‘background’ skills that a child needs to pull together to hold a pencil and form letters.

Some fun and simple activities include:

  • Squeezing the trigger on the hose to water plants or kneading dough;
  • Using tweezers to pick up things or pinning clothes on the clothesline;
  • Painting/ drawing on vertical surfaces (easels);
  • Pick up coins, one at a time, with one hand then place in a piggy bank;
  • Jigsaw puzzles and tangrams;
  • Bouncing balloons with fly swats, throwing and catching a ball, and threading beads;
  • Drawing different shapes & patterns such as lazy 8 racing tracks with sticks in mud;
  • Riding bikes, climbing trees & swinging;
  • Washing windows or pushing the trolley;
  • Holding the hose nozzle with both hands while watering the garden; and
  • Jumping rope and stencils.

We hope that you and your child enjoy playing to help improve handwriting!

Written by: Bron Lucey. Mother to 3 children who share her love of the finer things in life like mud, the outdoors and general mess. Occupational therapist in her spare time.

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