The occupation that children tell us they dislike the most in school – HANDWRITING!!!
As an occupational therapist based in schools, this is the main reason children are referred to us!
Children dislike this occupation more than any other, however, the skills required to develop it can be practised in a number of fun and exciting ways, improving engagement and outcomes.
Handwriting can be fun for children, parents, therapists and teachers. Here are a few ways to achieve this:
Pacman – this is simply a tennis ball! Place a cut along the front of the tennis ball, add some eyes and there you have Pacman! Squeezing both sides of the tennis ball allows paceman’s mouth to open and your child can feed him – pasta shapes are good to use to feed Pacman. Once he is full the fun begins, spin him around and make him feel very dizzy and sick! Then using one hand squeeze both sides of the tennis ball and Pacman will be sick bleurghhhhhhh!
Lego – yes it gets everywhere! BUT it is a great way for children to build their hand strength. Providing kids with a challenge e.g. build me a space ship can keep them busy for hours and at the same time work on the muscles in the hand and fingers!!
Play dough – the dreaded play dough – stuck in the carpets and all over the furniture! However, this is another good way to improve the strength in the hand. Creating different shapes and animals using the pincer grip can improve the strength and stability of the hand and fingers.
Sick of using worksheets?? Me too!! The kids get bored easily with the same old worksheets! Why not try forming the letters using different materials:
Sand/Salt Trays – using a tray (baking/tin foil) fill with sand/salt – if you stick different coloured paper to the bottom of the tray before filling, then something magic happens when practising the formation of letters! Kids can use their fingers or paint brush to create the letters in the sand/salt. The different colours should show up when they do this – magic!! (yes this is best done in the garden to avoid sandy carpets!!)
Toys – the use of toys to practice the formation of letters – cars are a good one to use. Create tracks in the shape of the letters with a start and finish point and the kids can form the letters using toy cars! They love this! Also, teddy bears could be used – walking along the forest path to create letters!
Torches – Turn the lights off and form a letter on the wall using the torch – the kids then follow this with their torches – could then turn this into a game of guess the letter. Hours of endless entertainment!!!
Outdoors – the fun of letter formation can also be taken outdoors! Use the mud and fingers to practice the formation of letters – this could be turned into a scavenger hunt for letters!
Pointers – using fun pointers – follow the letter formation using the pointers!
Bathing – when in the bath practice the formation of letters using bubbles/water on the side of the bath!!
Letter formation can be incorporated into any daily activity! Try it!!!