Writing is an activity that involves many fine motor skills, and for children with handwriting struggles, holding the pen, forming letters and writing on the line are all challenges. Children with learning difficulties often struggle with writing proper spacing and letter formation. Sensory activities can help children practice and improve fine motor activities for better handwriting. As these activities feel like playtime, the children will not be aware that they are also improving their skills.
Practice Forming Letters in Sand or Salt
For children who need practice forming letters, try the following activity: Fill a tray or baking pan with sand or fine salt and ask the children to practice forming letters using their index finger. You can move on to writing whole words once the children have mastered their letter formation. This technique can also be used for forming numbers as well, and has the bonus of a quick and easy cleanup.
Choose Play Activities That Improve Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills allow children to grip a pen and write a sentence. Strengthening exercises for fine motor skills can be a fun training session. Activities such as playing with small building blocks, catching and throwing a tennis ball, using fingers to march up and down an object, or pull beads or shells onto a string to make a necklace help children strengthen and fine tune their motor skills.
Create Letters Using Objects
Show children that they can create letters out of everyday objects, including their bodies! For example, children can arrange their toys in the shape of a letter, or use small building blocks to create a letter or word. Children can also shift their bodies to form part of a letter to embed the concept of what the letter looks like, which will in turn aid their handwriting.
Add Texture and Smell to Letters
You can also incorporate texture and smell into letter formation. Children start by painting a letter with glue on a sheet of paper. Next, they sprinkle it with something that starts with that letter so that your children can feel or smell what they’ve created. For example, they can sprinkle coffee grounds over the letter “C” or garlic powder over the letter “G.” This will help your children practice forming letters independently, and also make an association with those letters that they will remember.
Using fun, sensory activities is a great way to facilitate fine motor skill improvement through play. Even though handwriting is a complex task, by breaking down its components, you can see improvements in your children’s writing by using some of these strategies.
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