In my blissful ignorance, I thought all I would need to to is hand my son a pen and he would begin writing. Maybe it’s because I have no memory of learning to hold a pen myself. So, as I’ve been worked my way through parts of an online, free preschool curriculum (ABC Jesus Loves Me), I just sort of skipped over the parts about developing hand strength. As I handed the pen to my 4 year old son, who has chosen to go by the name of Bubble Fish for this blog, I found out just how wrong I had been.
The pen just slipped through his little, untrained fingers and onto the table. Or, he held a pen in a clenched fist like he was going to be punch someone. He also passed the pen from hand to hand and I realized that I didn’t even know if was left or right handed.
So, in an effort to get him up to speed on hand strength, here are some exercises I found online that my sons (the 4 year old and 2 year old) really love.
The first is ice cube painting. Put a little dab of paint on a paper and have them push it around the paper using a ice cube. It’s a little slippery and as they push them back and forth, they are forming stronger muscles for writing.
Usually the art projects I plan for them take about 5 minutes (if I’m that lucky), so I asked them prematurely if they were ready to be done a few times. No way. They were determined to drive their “ice cars” until the cubes had completely melted! I found out that finger paints don’t really work for this activity. Better to go with watercolors. Of course, it doesn’t end up so beautiful, but that’s not really the point!