By Emily Lipscombe: You may wonder what warm fuzzies have to do with handwriting. They mean everything when working with a primary level student! When I began teaching first graders back in 1982, my expectations were very unrealistic. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was one of those teachers who used a RED pen and circled every floating letter and those going out of the lines. Needless to say, there were many tears in the classroom! I learned through experience (the best teacher!) that young children respond more positively to encouragement. “I LOVE the way you wrote that T!” and “What a beautiful word!” It was then that I started seeing smiles during handwriting time and a desire to improve. handwriting warm fuzzies
Fine motor skills for young children are all over the place. Some develop sooner in this area than others. It takes time, so be patient with your student. Make handwriting fun! You don’t need to do a lesson on paper for it to be considered as handwriting. It’s important to keep a balance with practice on paper and activities that are needed to strengthen your child’s hands and fingers. Following are some suggestions to get you started. Editor’s Note: You can always check out our Pinterest boards for more ideas. Also, remember to shop Amazon Smile to support SCAIHS!
- Make alphabet letters using play dough.
- Make and trace sandpaper letters. If you’d rather not make them, Lakeshore Learning has them for sale (lowercase or uppercase).
- Have your student use the index finger of his/or her writing hand and write the upper and lower case letters in frosting on a cookie sheet.
- Spray shaving cream on a cookie sheet or table and have your student write the letters.
- Fill a shoe box with rice and have your student write the upper and lower case letters.
- You will find other hands-on activities HERE.
A very important part of handwriting development is teaching your student to use a proper pencil grip. This must be taught as your student will naturally want to grasp the writing utensil with a fist. Using the rhyme below may help. If your student enjoys singing, “Where is Thumbkin?” is a fun song for learning the names for each finger. You may listen to the song HERE.
Finger Men hold the pencil in place,
Pointer and Thumbkin on top, face to face.
Tall Man likes pencil to rest on his side,
And two Lazy Men go along for the ride.
If your student needs extra help with learning how to hold a pencil properly, you may want to purchase a writing claw. This works better than a regular pencil grip!
You are most likely light years ahead of public schools, whom we hear are no longer teaching “Handwriting,” and allowing students to figure it out for themselves, so bravo for you! Warm fuzzies like the above ideas may just help turn what could be a distasteful, boring class time into a delight-filled temporary escape from the books. Who would ever have thought students could learn to perfect their handwriting in rice, shaving cream, and…? Enjoy the above ideas, & perhaps throw in some of your own (and let us know what you come up with!), and ENJOY handwriting time with your children!”
This post was written by Emily Lipscombe. Emily is the Elementary Director with the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools, where she has been on staff since June of 1994. Having been a classroom teacher for ten years prior to coming on board, Emily now finds great joy serving and working with families home schooling their elementary students! She also has a passion for music and enjoys teaching piano and serving as pianist at her church!