4 FUN and Easy Ways to Help Your Struggling Handwriter

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Do you have a child who is struggling with handwriting?  Do they hold their pencil in an awkward manner, hold it very tightly, get their letters all over the page, and/or just hate handwriting? 

Today, I'd like to share 4 different types of activities that may help your struggling handwriters.  And most of these ideas do not involve handwriting at all!   They include helpful activities to build good:

-- Fine motor skills
-- Mature grasp patterns
-- Postural control and shoulder strength
-- Visual perceptual skills

If your child is struggling with handwriting, they are likely to have problems in one or more of these areas listed above.

And did you know that a playful approach can be a real help to their handwriting?

No matter which area your child struggles with, as listed above, there are playful activities that can be a help.  Each of the activities listed below are play based. They come from my work as an OT before I began homeschooling our daughter.

I hope they will be a help to you as you encourage and guide your young handwriter.  First, let's look at fine motor skills.

1.  Fine Motor Skills and Activities

The first thing that we usually look at when there is a handwriting problem is small muscle coordination.  Does your child lack hand strength or small muscle coordination?  
If so, the post below includes a number of clever and easy to do games for developing fine motor skills. 

Small Muscles Games – Here’s lots of activities that will develop fine motor skills.

Making it fun and playful is a great way to build fine motor skills.

Then, if your child needs to strengthen their hand and finger muscles, Oak Meadow has a number of ideas for doing that with clay, below  These may appeal to the older child as well.

Developing Hand Strength with Clay Activities – Lots of creative things to make out of clay, with easy to follow directions.

Creating with clay can be just the thing for building strength in the small hand muscles and the wrist, too.

Some kids have difficulty holding their pencil in a comfortable way.  Next, let's talk about helping your child develop a mature 
grasp pattern.

2.  Grasp Patterns and Games

Does your child have a very awkward grasp of their pencil?  Do they hold it with their whole hand?  Or do they have a tight grip on their pencil?

There are many ways to encourage a more mature grasp.  The post below explains what a mature grasp pattern is, and shows many ways to encourage that, through playful games.

These fun activities are all designed to encourage a fine pincer grasp.  And when your child uses that kind of grasp, their writing will become so much easier. 

Nine FUN Ways to a Mature Grasp – This includes 9 fun activities that will help your child develop a good grasp pattern.  Focusing on the fun will help your child towards success!

Note - There are many variations on the theme, re mature grasp patterns, so if your child develops one that is not quite the same as the photos show, that is ok.  The idea is to find a grip that decrease effort and pressure when writing.

Some kids do better using a grasp aid or device.  

Aids/Devices for Grasp  Here are a number of them, offered by Draw Your World.  

If you see one that you would like to try, I recommend googling it.  There are many devices on the market now.

Another common issue affecting handwriting to think is your child's posture when writing.  And did you know that shoulder muscles are an important part of handwriting, too?

3.  Postural Control and Shoulder Strength

When our kids struggle with handwriting, we usually think about doing small muscle activities, but core muscles and shoulders come into play too.

Here is one of the activities from the Gross Motor Cards from Draw Your World.  It is good for building up the core muscles for good posture and shoulder strength and coordination, too.  

It is based on the old fashioned game of wheel barrow.  More info on this here.  Click here for more activity ideas that can help build these skills up in your kiddos.

And lastly, visual perception is also a key part of handwriting.  Here's some ways to help kids who struggle with visual perception, also key to handwriting success.

4.  Visual Perceptual Skills 

Did you know that visual perception is not fully developed until age 9?  That can make learning to write and staying within the lines.. so hard for kids.  

If you child's writing tends to be all over the page, the writing guides discussed below may help.  They are designed to help kids learn where to place the letters on the page.

Helping Struggling Handwriters  - This article is full of ways to help guide your child to place their letters on the page, and to compensate for any visual perception struggles.

All of the handwriting guides in the article, like the tongue depressor, are easy to make and easy to use.  Many of them can be made with tag board.


So we have discussed four ways to help your struggling handwriter, including:

- developing small muscle coordination and strength
- encouraging a mature grasp pattern
- developing core strength and shoulder strength
- compensating for visual perception issues

And if you click on the links above, you will reach lots of activities to deal with each issue!  I recommend scrolling through whichever topic or activity speaks to you,  and just trying one of two activities at a time.  

Take a break from your handwriting routine, and do some fun to do activities for handwriting instead!

What have you found to be helpful for your struggling handwriters?  I so love to read your comments.  It makes my day!  With my daughter already graduated from college and working, I now have lots of free time to answer questions from you all. 

Please feel free to shoot me a question of two, through the comments on my blog posts, on my BJ's Homeschool facebook page, in a private message, or as a comment there, too.  Clicking this link is an easy way to like my page, too, always much appreciated!

This post is linked to the iHomeschool Network is doing a blog hop on how to creatively homeschool.  To reach all the other creative posts click here.

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her college senior, whom she homeschooled from preK through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

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