Fun Was to Improve Your Child's Handwriting
● By Digital Media Director
By: Megan Johnke, LifeScape
Typical summer activities tend to naturally enhance big motor skills – and that’s a good thing! However, more outside play and increased use of tablets and other technology, can erase progress made during the school year on handwriting.
Handwriting is far more complex than most realize. There are essentially three components to good handwriting that parents can easily monitor:
Letter formation is different than letter construction. Letters should be formed starting from the top, not the bottom, and should start on the left and not the right. Learning Without Tears® offers an excellent handwriting curriculum and offers free downloads at lwtears.com.
Positioning means letters should sit right on the line. Letters like g, j, y, etc. dip below the line. Sizing should also be consistent and all capitals should be the same size.
Finally, there should be proper space between letters and between words. Placing a finger after a word helps ensure enough space is allowed.
Sitting at a table and putting pencil to paper day after day over the summer is, fortunately, not necessary. Consider these alternative fun and creative ways to practice letter formation and enhance fine motor skills:
· Draw letters in sand, dirt, cornstarch, flour, or rice. It ‘erases’ easily! Trays or bins keep the medium contained.
· Form letters in shaving cream – on nearly any surface. Add food coloring for extra fun!
· Finger paints – Use fingers, Q-tips, cotton balls, or paint brushes to write letters and words. Or, put paint in a Ziploc bag, lay it flat, and draw letters with a Q-tip.
· Sidewalk chalk is great on black construction paper, as well as on concrete.
· Dry erase markers on a mirror make for fun messages to be discovered.
· Play-Doh – Roll out snake-like pieces and form letters. Easier clean-up outside is a bonus.
· Squeeze paint or icing from a condiment squeeze bottle to form letters.
· If your kids can’t get enough of that messy play outside, an outdoor paint easel can provide hours of fun. Even cleaning it is fun, by using a garden hose!
Just five minutes a day will have powerful results for your child, and make transitioning into the next school year a breeze. Happy writing!