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  • The Write Stuff: Helping Your Preschooler with His Handwriting

    Improve your preschooler’s handwriting with activities that spell fun, fun, fun!
    by Nikki Constantino .
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    Here are more games and activities to help improve your preschooler's handwriting.

     

    Art smart

    Work on your child’s fine motor skills while encouraging his artistic side. Colored paper, blunt scissors, yarn, ribbon, and paste spell hours of fun. Help him cut out shapes and paste them on paper to create a unique design. Punch holes on the sides of the shapes and ask your child to work the ribbon in and out of the holes.

    “Take beans from the kitchen, like monggo, and have him paste these on his drawing, or get real beads with holes and string them together to make a bracelet.”

     

    Say tweeze!

    Tweezers are awesome tools for legible handwriting. “Give your child cosmetic tweezers, and have him pick monggo seeds or small beads with it,” suggests Yuzon. This activity helps develop the strength of his little fingers.

     

    Clamp ’em up

    Give your child a pair of kitchen tongs and ask him to open and snap them close to the rhythm of a song you both like to sing. Make sure to do this with each hand, one at a time. This is also another way to help your child determine his stronger hand, says Yuzon.

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    Building blocks

    For future architects and engineers, wooden blocks or snap lock cubes promote coordination, manipulation, and creativity. Let them feel the 3D shapes, snap them together, pull them apart, build and rebuild over and over. Construction toys boost both critical thinking and motor skills development especially in the early years, Yuzon explains.

     

    Color me happy!

    Give your child a large piece of paper to paint on, and show him how to use vertical and horizontal motions. “This develops the wrist, the source of most hand movements,” says Yuzon. Get creative with painting tools and materials, she suggests. Use different sizes of paintbrushes and sponges as well as your bare hands and fingers for varying effects.

     

    Scribbling

    This may be the only practice activity that requires holding a pencil, but you’re not about to write letters or numbers just yet. “It’s more like letting your child doodle and write anything he wants to—sans the pressure,” says Yuzon. What you should take note of, however, is the way he holds the pencil. The goal is to learn the “tripod” way—thumb, pointer, and middle fingertips only. “Let your child use those large, triangular pencils first, to practice proper grasp,” Yuzon suggests.

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    Take note that your activities and the amount of time you spend doing them should be age-appropriate, or else your child would end up frustrated or bored. “Children younger than four should spend no more than 10 minutes for handwriting improvement activities. Four-year-olds can handle 30 minutes, while five-year-olds can take 45 minutes,” she says. If he goes away or does something else in the middle of your sessions, do not force him to stay. “Just make adjustments based on the clues,” she suggests.

    Engage in these fun activities with your child as often as you can. Keep the materials available all the time so he can do them without you, at his own time, Pilapil says. Happy scribbling!

     

    Scribble Away!

    Rowena Juan-Matti, chief executive officer of Galileo Enrichment Learning Program, Inc., recommends the following tools to help improve your preschooler’s hand function, strength, and dexterity:

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    • Bat-and-ball toys Strengthen shoulders and wrists
    • Bean bags or marbles Let him juggle, roll, and play with these to improve dexterity
    • Work benches Simulation toys that involve hammering and turning screws are great workout toys for the hands 
    • Maze Improves hand-eye coordination, which is needed for writing
    • Number and letter peg boards Exercise hands and fingers, and sharpen letter-
      recognition skills
    • Wooden building blocks Help develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, creative problem-solving skills, and language skills
    • Squirt toys Squeezing keeps the wrist muscles fit and ready for scribbling

     

    Sources

    • Marierose Yuzon, academic assistant, Language Arts, Miriam College Child Study Center, tel. 435-9235
    • Maro Pilapil, school director, Kinderhaus Learning Center, 14 Sgt. Esguerra Ave., South Triangle, Quezon City

     

    Photo from flickr.com

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