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  • Hand-Finger Activities To Help Kids Develop A Good Pencil Grip (Baby To Preschool)

    Good to know: pencil grip starts with early motor skills.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
Hand-Finger Activities To Help Kids Develop A Good Pencil Grip (Baby To Preschool)
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/ fizkes
  • Are you one of those parents who worry or feel frustrated that their toddler holds his pencil awkwardly? Well, it’s time to get a grip, mom and dad.

    There’s lots of room to develop a good pencil grip among toddlers, but first, it’s essential to understand that its foundation comes in stages.

    Pencil grip starts with early motor skills

    Dr. Evalyn Hizon, a former preschool teacher, a professor of the Miriam College, and a part-time lecturer at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Early Childhood Education, says pencil grip starts with early motor skills. It is essential children learn how to hold a pencil through their five senses.

    “In developing their pencil grip, the senses of sight and touch are mostly involved. Even during infancy, the child’s development of hands and fingers known as manipulation takes place.”

    Dr. Hizon breaks down these foundational motor skills by stages in a child:

    1-3 months - Hand and arm movements become voluntary

    Infants begin to reach for objects, first with their eyes, then with open hands

    4-11 months - Palmar and pincer grasp

    Kids use a palmar grasp to pick up objects and move to a pincer grasp utilizing the thumb and forefinger.

    1 – 3 years old - Rolling, tumbling and bouncing 

    When kids roll, tumble, and bounce around, they develop the following: gross motor skills such as carrying and dumping toys; finger dexterity when they do some writing and coloring activitiesl and use palmer of pincer grasp to hold a pen.


    4-6 years old - Tripod grasp

    They can hold the pencil, crayon, markers using the tripod grasp while writing phrases. This is also a time when they develop left or right-handedness.

    7-8 years old - Finger dexterity is strong and stable

    Preschool provides the right balance of activities that give the child a foundation for proper pencil grips.

    Activities like drawing, washing hands, sand play, and clay molding contribute to their total development for pencil grips/manipulation and their cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development, says Dr. Hizon.

    “With proper guidance and motivation, preschool teachers can show the children the proper way to hold a pencil and crayon. They can also provide lots of paper and varied writing instruments so the children will get excited.”

    Hand-finger dexterity activities at home and in school

    Complementing school activities in the home, all the more strengthens the child’s motor skills. Dr. Hizon recommends the following activities to exercise eye-hand coordination among toddlers:

    • Playdough for hand and finger manipulation
    • Squeeze, pound, stretch, roll, cut, pinch, make objects, and name them to enrich their vocabulary.
    • Squeezing cooked gelatin
    • Pouring sand
    • Picking up pebbles and put them in one container
    • Pouring water from one container to another using a funnel
    • Scooping pebbles and seeds

    On the other hand, activities like zipping, buttoning, dressing, undressing, putting snaps, and ribboning are some self-help activities that children can do to develop their finger dexterity, Dr. Hizon adds.

    By 7 and 8 years old, children ideally have developed a good pencil grip and are happy and confident in their writing activities.

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    “A comfortable pencil grip is essential for their happiness and success since they will be doing a lot of writing at this stage,” she says.

    Encouraging proper pencil grip positively

    Dr. Hizon also emphasizes the importance of not making the child feel he is doing pencil grip the wrong way. She shares these tips parents can use.

    Allow the child to help in simple household work

    Chores will help them develop a sense of responsibility, and they can exercise their hand and finger movements. Examples: setting the table, washing utensils, peel fruits, dust furniture, brush their own shoes, folding clothes

    Be consistent

    You do not want to confuse your child that she will lose faith in you. If the child commits a mistake in writing or holding the pencil correctly, use kind words and actions to not lose confidence and keep on trying.

    Graciously accept the little things they make for you

    Whether these are drawings or simple cards that they make with their invented spelling, these are ways they express their thoughtfulness and genuine love for you.

    Let your children make mistakes

    They learn from these mistakes. Accept them for what they are and gently correct and guide them, especially their pencil grip.

    Bring your child to buy her special toy or particular writing instrument

    It conveys your appreciation of her successful handwriting and successful achievements. Provide your child with plenty of paper, pencils, and markers to encourage writing.

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