Handwriting Helps, part 1 - Small Muscle Games

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Are your little ones struggling with writing their letters? Or do they have trouble holding a pencil comfortably, or maybe they grasp it very tightly? .....Maybe your student hates to work in his handwriting book.  

Sometimes these issues come from a lack of hand strength or fine finger coordination.  These things can be improved by using fun, playful games.... And that can give your child a break from their handwriting routine, too!

Specific activities, that are fun to do, can help your kids:

1.  To develop hand strength
2.  To improve finger strength and coordination
3.  Learn a mature grasp pattern


A fun way to strengthen the finger muscles.

Squirt Bottle Art builds wrist and finger strength! In Squirt Bottle Art, the child squirts colored water onto a sheet a paper that is taped to the fridge so that it is high up. Here's three more activities for building hand strength...


Activities such as cutting, drawing, finger painting, lego building, playing jacks, and playdough are all great activities to develop the finger muscles.  When you are looking for something else.... have you tried a pizza party?

Do it with playdough, or do it with biscuit dough, and make a snack of it!
The Pizza Party

First, your child makes a pizza from play dough, or biscuit dough, then cuts the pizza into slices with scissors. Fun and strengthening finger muscles at the same time! Adding toppings to the pizza, etc can provide even more helpful practice.  Make tiny balls of clay for pizza toppings! For more finger muscle activities, click here....


Kids often start with a “palmar grip” pattern, which means holding the crayon in the palm of the hand, with the fingers wrapped around it.  Some kids naturally move to a mature grasp pattern, over the years, as they grow, but some don't. Here's a fun game, to help encourage that more mature grasp:

Bubble Wrap Maze

For the Bubble Wrap Maze - Pop the bubbles with the thumb, index and ring fingers, pressing together. Make it a game and pinch along a path on the bubble wrap!  Click here for two more helpful activities for learning a mature grasp pattern....  

Yes, in case you are wondering, I have an O.T. background......you were right! 

If your child is really struggling, consider taking a break from their handwriting program, and let them play with these activities instead!

Here are the other posts in this series:

Handwriting Helps, part 2 - Teach Your Kids 2 Write
Handwriting Helps, part 3 - Grasping Aids and Devices
Handwriting Helps, part 4 -  Strengthening with Clay Fun!

Featured on the
Ultimate Homeschool Pinterest Party

f your child is struggling with handwriting BJ’s Homeschool has a terrific post that givestips and ideas to help strengthen your child’s handwriting skills without actually having to write! This is a great idea as when a child is struggling with writing they will not want to write, but they may want to play a “game!” Great post, BJ’s Homeschool.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  And I love getting comments from you.  What do you like to use for your little writers?

Happy Homeschooling!


Betsy is a former OT, writer, blogger, and mom to her 18 yo.  She writes  everything homeschooling, from the Early Years to high school, with info. on homeschool help here.  Don't miss a post! Twitter, Facebook, Google, or Pinterest.

This post is linked to some of my favorite blog hops here.


  1. Great ideas for working on handwriting - without working on handwriting! ;) Thank you!

  2. Thanks, Jennifer, for stopping by, and sharing your thoughts on not working on handwriting! I hope these ideas will help make learning to write for your kids, more fun and less of a chore.

  3. Great ideas. We have two children on the autism spectrum that also deal with small motor problems. I'm going to try these!

    Tim @ Families Again

    1. Thanks, Tim @ Families Again, for stopping by, and I hope that this helps your precious kids with their small motor development.

  4. More great fine motor! Thanks for linking up!

  5. Thanks, Jen Altman! These small muscle activitites were created by OT's who were worked with kids who struggled with handwriting.

  6. Love these ideas! My boys both struggle, will definitely be trying some of these.

  7. So glad to hear that, and I hope these will help your two boys!


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