Before our little ones learn to use a pencil, we have to make sure they are provided with a variety of tactile experiences and fine motor play, while introducing shapes, letters, and numbers. Below are some ideas to help introduce finger and hand experiences prior to using a pencil.
o Fingerpaint is a great tool to use when introducing hand movements and prewriting. Children can get the tactile experience of the fingerpaint, they learn finger isolation when using specific fingers to draw picutres, and they can practice prewriting of shapes with their finger. My favorite is Crayola's washable fingerpaint or for a non-toxic option, try Jar Melo Safe Fingerpaints. (Don't forget the finger paint paper)
o Similar tactile experiences include play with SHAVING CREAM
o Playdoh is one of my favorite things for kids. There are so many skills you can work on when children play with playdoh. Full hand strength when squeezing or pincer strength when pinching. Rolling, pulling, pushing, pinching, etc can all work on the various muscles of the hand and forearms. The Original Playdoh brand is my favorite but the Hygloss brand is also good!
o The “older” playdoh, the harder it is, which works on more strength
o Prewriting in the playdoh with a pencil works on developing a firm grasp as well as providing a resistance when writing which pulls out attention and provides improved memory to what is being drawn
- TWEEZER, TONGS, and CLOTHESPINS
o All of these fine motor toys should be given to kids to play with before they are introduced to a pencil.
o When you use these toys, you are using the first three fingers (which are the same fingers you use to hold a pencil) as well as work on the hand strength required to hold and stabilize a pencil
o I love to use the words “open…close…” when teaching to use these tools because these tools ALSO work on pre-scissor skills.
o Some of my favorite tweezer, tongs, or clothespins are:
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