Handwriting

Children who write by hand learn more and remember more. Writing by hand, instead of a keyboard, uses more of the sensorimotor parts of the brain. But there is a lot of work to do before children are ready to write by hand.

Children who write by hand learn more and remember more. Writing by hand, instead of a keyboard, uses more of the sensorimotor parts of the brain. Sensory experiences create more interactions between different parts of the brain and help children learn and remember more. Click here to find out more.

The brain can only do one thinking task at a time so we need many things to be automatic, including letter formation. Forming letters accurately is a developmental skill and should develop through several stages.

This chart highlights some of the milestones at each age.

 

Age                              Skill

10-15  months-      scribbles

2  years -               attempts  to draw a horizontal, vertical or curved line

3  years -               can  copy different types of lines

4-5  years -           can  copy a cross, right and left directional line, diagonal lines, some letters  and numbers, and may begin to copy their name

In some countries such as Scandinavia children are not formally taught to write until they are seven. Nathan Mikaere Wallis and other experts in neuroscience agree that writing shouldn’t be formally taught until children are seven and it can be detrimental to “push” children into writing too early. Click here to find out more.

Many children struggle with writing, usually because their early development has not been optimal. Before a child can write they need to have well integrated sensory systems and they need many opportunities to move which builds their muscle strength and co-ordination.

Below is a list of activities that support development required before a child can form letters accurately

·       Physical activities build muscle strength and the vestibular system and help integrate it with vision and proprioception.

-       Climbing on the playground

-       Rolling along the floor

-       crawling

-       Push ups

-       Scooter boards (lying on the tummy and using arms to move)

-       Climbing steps

-       Jumping across lines or skipping rope with one foot, two feet, forwards and backwards

-       skipping

-       Obstacle courses

-       drawing with large sticks in the sand

-       Dancing

-       Rolling over large swiss ball

-       swinging

 

·       Fine motor activities to build hand strength and finger dexterity

 

-       Finger rhymes

-       Painting with wet brushes

-       Drawing with different materials (chalk on concrete, large crayons…)

-       Drawing patterns

-       Using a spray bottle

-       Using pegs

-       Using play dough with and without tools

-       Finger painting or using shaving foam to draw in

 

·       Bi-lateral activities to build crossing the mid-line

 

-       Bean bag activities with rhymes

-       Using scissors

-       Some kitchen tools- eg: egg-beater, using knife and fork

-       Brain gym

-       Water play- filling containers

 

These activities will need to be used frequently over a long period of time to develop a child’s control of their own body.