Getting ready to write

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! ImageI 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!

ImageAs the ice melts, the fingers have to come closer and closer together into the coveted “tripod grasp” which will enable them to write.

One thought on “Getting ready to write

  1. Clever idea. I’m sure my 3 year old will love doing this – and the 1 year old will just enjoy playing with some ice and getting mucky hands with the paint!

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