Did you know a child’s ability to hold a pencil starts to develop as early as one-and-a-half? Children generally start with a fist grip and move through aprogression of different grips as their skills refine, ideally settling on the tripod, or pincer, grip. A proper grip aids the exploration of shapes and letters and supports the habit of drawing, which is often done with more interest and frequency by preschool. As children get older, their pencil grip can also affect how legibly and efficiently they’re able to write in school.
Like many other everyday tasks, pencil grip is a skill that relies on the strength and coordination of a child’s fine-motor abilities. Without the development of the correct hand and arm muscles, or the practice of manipulating individual fingers, a child will not be strong enough to hold a pencil using a more advanced grip. This week’s activity focuses on strengthening these muscles in your learner and helping them develop essential motor skills. All you need is some play dough and a few small objects, such as marbles or building blocks.
First, tell your learner that you’re going to play a game. Have your learner help you count the marbles or blocks, and then tell them that you’re going to hide the items in the play dough; it will be their job to find all the items and count them as they hand them back to you. Then squish the items into the center of the play dough and let the searching start!
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