Handwriting is an integral part of learning for little kids. It can help them with details and give them more to remember than just a written work. If you have a child with problems with their handwriting, it may be easier to show how they can improve their handwriting skills. Below you will find some finger exercises that can help your child’s handwriting become better and more legible.
When Should Kids Start Practicing Handwriting?
Handwriting is an essential skill—you can’t write a paper, fill out a job application or make a grocery list without it. But it’s also one of the earliest skills to fade in kids with learning disabilities.
Handwriting is a complex task that requires both fine motor control and visual-motor integration. That means that if your kid has trouble with handwriting, he probably has trouble with other things, too.
Kids should start practicing handwriting as soon as they can hold a pencil and form letters on paper. The younger they are when they start, the better their chances of developing strong writing skills later in life.
Although it’s recommended that children begin practicing writing when they’re five, some kids may be ready before others. If your child isn’t showing signs of being able to write, don’t worry! It’s never too early or too late to start practicing.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Problems Related To Handwriting?
The most common problem related to handwriting is the inability to hold a pencil properly to form letters correctly. There are several causes of this problem: an improper pencil grasp, poor control over the movement of your hand, illegible handwriting, and bad penmanship skills.
There are many reasons kids may struggle with handwriting:
- poor motor coordination,
- lack of practice,
- inadequate handwriting instruction from an educator
These problems lead to:
- Messy handwriting
- Poor penmanship
- Inability to form letters correctly
- Unable to write legibly or at all
The good news is these problems are all fixable!
Finger Exercises to Help Handwriting For Kids
Kids learn through repetition, so the more they practice writing, the better they’ll get. For parents, it can be frustrating to see their children struggle with handwriting. Unfortunately, this isn’t true—it’s a skill that has to be learned and practiced over time.
Let’s take a look at how finger exercises can help improve your child’s handwriting:
1. Finger Pinch
This is an excellent finger exercise for children because it uses the thumb, index finger, and middle finger to pinch a small object. If kids don’t have fine motor control, they won’t be able to hold an object between 2 fingers. Do this and a writing exercise, such as a dot or line.
This exercise will help strengthen their finger muscles and help them to develop strong pencil grips and dexterity. It also helps improve their fine motor skills and coordination.
How to do it:
Place a small object (like a coin or dried bean) between your thumb, index finger, and middle finger.
Then close your hand around the coin.
Pinch! You can do this with both hands to help improve both hands individually.
Repeat 10 times or as often as possible to help train their grip. This exercise can be done with one hand at a time to make it easier for younger children.
2. Count With Your Fingers
To help your little one learn to count, you can use a marble. Place it on a flat surface and ask your child to reach down and pick up the marble with just their thumb, index, and middle finger. Ask children to tell you how many fingers they used, then have them repeat this process while looking at their hands. This will help them associate their fingers with numbers as well as practice counting on their own.
Next time your child plays with toys or building blocks, have them identify numbers by holding up one finger for each number being counted. For example: “I see two blocks on the floor!” Then continue by having them say “three” when there are three blocks, etc., until all of the items are identified in order from 1-10 (or whatever number range works best for your child).
3. Strengthening With Play Dough or Clay
Play dough and clay are great ways to help kids strengthen their fingers. Let them create letters in the play dough if you have small children. If you have older children, have them use a ruler to keep the notes straight.
Using play dough has its advantages for learning handwriting: it’s soft and easy to work with, plus it comes in lots of fun colors!
This activity allows kids to develop their fine motor skills and create letters. It can be a great way to help preschool and kindergarteners improve their handwriting at home.
4. Draw Letters in the sand
Kids love to play in the sandbox, so use it to your advantage! Spread a sheet of paper and ask them to draw with their finger or a stick in the sand. Make sure they write letters in the sand, not just make random lines. The added texture of the sand may help them “feel” where certain characters are located on the page when they have their writing utensils.
This activity requires a little more effort from your child, but it’s a great way to hone their motor skills and help develop their core strength.
5. Finger Writing
This is one of the ideal finger exercises for children because it uses only fingers, no pencils or paper. Your child will learn to write letters and numbers on their own and also get in a little practice for the actual writing.
How to do it:
Have your child write down each number or letter with just their fingers. If they’re struggling to write certain characters, use a mirror so they can see the correct orientation of each character. This will help them to see how each letter looks from different perspectives, including above, below, and from the side.
Chores are a great way to help your child practice handwriting. Handwriting is very important in school and work, so it’s a good idea to start teaching it as early as possible.
There are many chores that children can do at home that will help them learn responsibility, develop their motor skills, and develop positive attitudes towards work and life in general. Some chores will teach them how to take care of themselves and their belongings by cleaning up.
You can find age-appropriate chores for your child based on the household tasks you need to be done most often, like cleaning up after meals or doing laundry if you have clothes in the house. Chores give children opportunities for self-reflection, introspection, and decision making, which helps develop life skills such as planning, organizing priorities according to importance or urgency (and then sticking with those decisions), problem-solving abilities, etc.
7. Draw a Straight Line
This is one of the most simple finger exercises, but it’s one that your child can repeatedly practice until they get the hang of it.
Drawing a straight line is essential for developing a solid grip. It makes it easier for children to make horizontal and vertical lines.
Have them find a chalkboard or whiteboard and draw a line straight down the middle to the side. Then have them practice drawing up and down and side to side until they get the hang of it.
Next, repeat this exercise on paper with a ruler or stencil in front of you to make sure they follow the lines while they draw. This will help them with both left-handed and right-handed writers practicing handwriting.
8. Pencil Grasp Exercise
To develop a tripod grasp, you must hold the pencil between your thumb and index finger.
- Hold the pencil in the middle of the wooden part. Do not hold it too close to either end, as this may cause wrist pain and fatigue over time.
- Hold the pencil with a light grip and let go of any pressure on your fingers when writing or drawing. This will help to prevent hand cramps and fatigue over time by taking regular breaks from the tool.
Your kid should practice holding the pencil in different ways to help strengthen their grasp.
9. Draw and Color
Drawing and coloring are excellent ways to help children develop good handwriting skills. Drawing can be a perfect way for kids to practice fine motor skills and coordinate hand movements with their eyes. Coloring is also a great way for kids to relax and unwind after a busy day at school.
Drawing exercises can help kids explore their creativity. At the same time, they develop good penmanship habits but can also reinforce basic shapes and concepts such as symmetry, balance, composition, and color theory.
10. Scissor Time
Scissor time is a great way to teach children how to use scissors. The best way to begin is by showing your child how properly hold the scissors and then having them repeat after you.
Show them that for their paper not to get torn, and they will need to ensure that their fingers are not in the way of the blades and that they are cutting toward themselves. Safety is important! It is one of the most effective finger exercises for kids because it will help them develop their motor skills and hone their hand-eye coordination.
Improving handwriting skills is an essential and challenging task for children (and adults!). Your child will feel very proud when they have mastered the work by practicing these simple finger exercises with you daily.
Sometimes it’s inconvenient to spend a lot of the time improving handwriting skills. Some apps are available in the market, but it’s always better to use a school or preschool program. School, after all, is where kids should be learning from experts.
That’s why NY Baby Steps is perfect for you! A state-of-the-art school with a dedicated team of teachers and parents will help your child learn to write.
We also have an activity-based program to keep your child interested and engaged in the process. Our program is designed around the child’s developmental needs and helps them understand the importance of learning to write and develop a passion for learning.
We also have a dedicated page for parents where we help you solve your problem in developing the handwriting skills of your children.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!