4 FUN Ways to Help your Struggling Handwriters

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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 each of these areas listed above.

And they can improve their handwriting by working and playing with the activities discussed below.

Each activity is fun and play based. They come from my work as an OT, and also from my time homeschooling. 

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.

Fine Motor 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. 

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.

Clay Fun Art by Oak Meadow - Review at The Curriculum Choice

Next, let's talk about how your child holds her pencil, or grasp patterns.

Grasp Patterns

Does your child have a very ackward 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. 

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 the effort and pressure when writing.

Some kids do better using a grasp aid or device.  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 thing to think about is your child's posture when writing.

Postural Control and Shoulder Strength

When our kids struggle with handwriting, we usually think about doing small muscle activities, but sometimes that is really not the problem.

When we write, we need good postural control, which refers to strength in the core muscles of the trunk.  And when we write, there are a lot of little shoulder motions involved, too.  

How can we help our kids develop these foundational skills when they don't have them?

Play Pack Gross Motor Cards have some easy to do activities that can help. 

Here is one activity that is good for building up the core muscles as well as should 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, here's some ways to help kids who struggle with visual perception, also key to handwriting success.

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.

All of these guides, like the tongue depressor, are easy to find or make and easy to use.  We just used tag board and made them ourselves.

So we have discussed four different things that may 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

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 add 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 working independently in college, 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 facebook page, in a private message, or as a comment there, too.

The iHomeschool Network is doing a blog hop this week 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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This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.

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  1. Some great ideas, thank you! I found your post on the Hip Homeschool Hop. :) I'll have to try some of your visual perception tips. x

  2. Thank you for stopping by, from Secret Life of a Homeschooler! I hope that some of these ideas help you young handwriter. And I would love to hear how they did, and what helped them. Feel free to comment again on this post on my facebook page. Have a good rest of the week,

  3. Thank you for linking up with us on What to Read Wednesday and sharing your fun ideas!

    1. Thanks, Anne Campbell, and thanks for hosting the What to Read Wednesday blog hop!


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