Summer has ended and it’s time for kids to head back to school. Here are some great tips to help improve your child’s handwriting that may have been forgotten over the summer:
1. Use a finger to space out your words if you are having difficulty with word spacing.
2. Participate in hand strengthening activities to increase hand strength and endurance. Some ideas of hand strengthening activities include: using theraputty and finding small objects hidden in it; or squeezing open a tennis ball with a slit cut in it to put small items inside (pictured below).
3. Practice appropriate letter formation by writing letters in shaving cream, pudding, sand, or other material. Using a variety of media to form letters can make writing more fun while improving letter formation.
4. Participate in fine motor coordination activities by hiding a small item in the palm of your hand (such as a penny or marble) and then bringing it out to the fingertips using the same hand. Try then to bring the item back into your palm in the same manner.
5. Lacing string through holes and stringing beads of different sizes onto string (the smaller they are, the more difficult) can help with fine motor coordination.
6. If letter size is difficult, highlight the top and bottom lines to have a visual boundary for the letters.
7. Try a pencil grip or a different type of pencil (longer, shorter, wider) to see if it improves handwriting.
8. Become your own editor – make a list of “rules” for handwriting and go back to check your own work. Some ideas of rules include: using capitals and punctuation, spacing between words, skyscrapers touch the sky and dirt diggers go under the ground, etc.
Written by: Hilary Lee, MPH, MS, OTR/L