Fine motor skills, which involve finger dexterity –– grasping, holding, the pinch-grasp –– can be developed through writing. Here are some other benefits of introducing preschoolers to regular writing practice:
1. Improves Gross Motor Control:
To maximize gross motor control, the major limbs need to work in coordination with the finer muscles. Writing helps in developing the use of the hand and directing it to form shapes across the writing surface.
2. Increases Ability to Grasp:
The fine motor skills that involve grasping the pen, holding it, applying the right pressure to make a mark, and moving the wrists to form the letter are all developed by practicing writing.
3. Builds Efficiency in Letter Writing:
Letter and word formation can be a tricky process owing to the many wrist twists and turns the letters take to form. Practicing writing early on can help with increasing efficiency and speed with which preschoolers form their letters. This is important for later academic achievements and is good practice of fine motor skills, too!
There are various activities that can help children break away from the tedium of writing and instead embrace it as a fun and engaging activity. Here are just a few!
1. Worksheets and PrintablesPrintables and worksheets make way for some of the most engaging and simple writing activities. They can be customized and can contain references to your child’s favorite things to reel in their attention. These can include making them join dots to words and their corresponding images or filling in vowels for simple three-to-four letter words. You can also add pictures and choose words that they associate with most.
2. Activity Mats
Activity mats are a great substitute for pens and paper because they keep writing fresh and interesting for your little one. In particular, wipe-n-use multicolored sketch pens let you reuse one activity mat over and over for increased hours of fun, and as such are one of the best writing practice tools.
3. Sensory Activities for Letter Recognition
Sensory activities make way for relaxed, engaging, and interactive writing sessions. Through this process the writing skills are picked up and developed organically. The benefits of sensory activities include reducing the sensory overload that some kids may experience when introduced to writing for the first time. Sensory activities also prevent them from feeling emotionally overwhelmed by pushing them to pay attention to what they sense around them.
Sensory activities like rolling Play-Doh into alphabets can help them recognize alphabet forms, while also improving their fine motor skills. Sandbox letter-writing is another activity that stimulates their senses and introduces them to letter-formation and recognition. These activities help them visualize the letters as well.
Linking Letters by Skillmatics is another such activity that can engage your child in sensory activity for letter recognition. By linking the letters in the proper order through a string, they are able to visualize their form and develop their fine motor skills.
4. Activities for Visualizing Letters in Advance
Visualization is a strong tool for honing writing skills and practicing practical application. Visualizing activities with bold and colorful letters and words with images as references can help children comprehend them better. These simple activities shape their understanding of the different forms and identification of each letter by shape.
Fun activities include foam letter panels where children place the letters in alphabetical order in their correct cut-outs by identifying them by shape. The Skillmatics Learn to Spell game is a great tool because it pairs letters with visualization. It includes prompt cards with simple, three-letter words which the children can read out loud and practice their diction alongside their visualization skills.
By introducing them to these games, parents can help their children participate in reading and writing activities and understand their lessons in a stress-free environment. Being actively involved in the activities helps children retain the lessons better, which is important because writing is a critical skill for academic and personal development. Thus, understanding your little one’s needs and the pace with which they approach these activities is also necessary to building a conducive environment at home.