ARTICLE CONTRIBUTED BY METTA PRESCHOOL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS, AMELIA JUNTADO AND HEIDI MOSQUERIOLA.
Some children may find writing an easy and fun activity but to some others, it may find be a difficult and tedious process. Legible handwriting technique requires coordination of the eyes, arms, hands, pencil grip, letter formation and body posture. There are many reasons why some children have difficulty holding a pencil, sitting with a good body posture, learning to form letters, and writing legibly and neatly. Often, Occupational Therapists are present to assess a child’s muscle strength, coordination, endurance and motor control and guide them through a series of activities to improve their handwriting skills.
Metta PreSchool Occupational Therapists, Amelia and Heidi, offers some simple activities which can be practised in the classroom or at home.
- Sports and Games that could improve visual, motor, and coordination skills
– Play ball (catching, throwing, rolling, bouncing)
– Play balloon ( catching, throwing, hitting)
– Toss rings over a pole
- Hand/Finger Activities
– Play dough (rolling, pinching, pulling, twisting, cutting)
– Clip/unclip clothes pegs
– Pick small objects such as beads, blocks, pom-poms using tongs or tweezers
- Pencil Grasp Activities
– String beads
– Pick up sticks
– Crumple bits of paper for arts and crafts
- Letter Formation
– Form letters by gluing together beans, buttons, seeds
– Form letters with play dough, putty, clay
– Form letters in the sand, shaving cream
– Write letters in the air
* Note: Letters should be written from top to bottom and from left to right
- Writing on Paper with Guided Lines
– Use coloured lines to indicate top, middle, and bottom line for tall letters and shorts letters
– Highlight the bottom half of the line
– Make a raised base (bottom line) using glue
- Word Spacing
– Teach your child to use “finger space” by placing an index finger after each word that is written
– Place a dot or small line after each word the child writes. Erase it after he/she has finished writing.
– Play a game of arranging cut-out words to form a sentence on a whiteboard and placing coloured magnet after each word
Coaching a child good handwriting skills is not an easy task as it requires patience, attention, communication, and constant encouragement. Thus, teachers and parents are encouraged to schedule and plan activities for handwriting to be fun, interactive and enjoyable. Make it a habit to let your child write, draw, colour or create little notes. More importantly, remember to bring out those fanciful stamps; stickers; or just simply reward your child with a kiss or a big hug in showing how proud you are about his/her performance.