Back in the day, long before kids, I started my journey as a kindergarten teacher. It was a passion of mine and I truly loved it. While I did have a strict side and expected them to be respectful and follow the rules, I also had fun whenever I could. Were they acting tired or overworked? Time for “Dance Party” where kiddos could jam out to something like Jackson 5’s ABC 123 or Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA.
I had the same approach for teaching little ones the art of handwriting. We would sit down and practice every day using Handwriting Without Tears, my personal favorite curriculum. But just like everything else, it was important to mix in a little fun. Therefore in my classroom and in my personal tutoring sessions, I would give my kids a “break” and allow them to play some “games”. Little did they know, these “games” were actually activities that would build their little hand muscles and in turn, improve their handwriting.
So now, here I am, a mom to a 3 1/2 year old boy who grabs his pencil as if he is trying to strangle it. That’s when the light bulb went off- It’s time to start the handwriting “games”. He is really enjoying them, so I thought I would share them with you. Here are three of my favorite activities to help improve fine motor skills:
Popping Bubble Wrap
You may hate me for this one but trust me, it’s great. Just be sure to have your cup of coffee before handing your little one a sheet of bubble wrap (the kind you use to package fragile items). Instruct your child to only use his/her pointer finger and thumb and then POP AWAY!!!
Coins in a Cup
Grab a handful of coins and a cup and sit on the floor or at a table. Instruct your child to use only his/her pointer finger and thumb to pick up the coins and drop them in the cup. As this becomes easier for your child, make it a game and try to go faster. For your older ones, pull out the timer and make it a challenge.
Tongs and Toys
All you need is a pair of kitchen tongs, toys, and a container. Your child grabs the tongs and picks up each toy and puts it in the container. I also use this “game” to trick my kid into cleaning up the playroom. Win, win.