Pencil grasps can be a difficult concept for kids to master. Pencil grasps require hand strength, motor planning and coordination, plus a little instruction along the way. Give your kids an advantage when teaching them pencil grasp with these simple yet effective techniques.
1.Explain “stop” and “go” fingers- Make the analogy of a stop light to your child’s fingers when holding a pencil. The “go” fingers (thumb, index, and middle) get to “go” for a ride on the pencil, while the “stop” fingers (ring finger and pinky) get tucked into the palm instead.
2. Put a green dot on their “go” fingers and a red dot on the “stop” fingers- Visual cues can be so helpful for kids so they can truly see what’s being explained to them. Put a green dot on your child’s “go” fingers (thumb, index, and middle) where those fingers are supposed to hold the pencil. Note- I put the green dot on the side pad of the middle finger because the pencil rests there rather than on the fingertip.
3. Draw a line around the bottom of the pencil- Make a visual cue on the pencil by drawing a green ring around the part where the two colors meet). Have the child match the green dots on their “go” fingers to the green line on the pencil for correct positioning.
4. Place a sticker on the pencil- Accentuate the visual cue on the pencil by wrapping a sticker just above the sharpened portion of the pencil so the child can hold it in the correct position. If possible, use a green sticker to match the green “go” fingers.
5. Play the pencil pick up game- As with anything, practice makes perfect. Practice pencil grasp with this fun game in order to keep your child’s interest. Check out the video on how to play…..
6. Build hand strength through play activities- You cannot hold a pencil correctly without adequate hand strength. So, work on building hand strength by PLAYING! Do the monkey bars, climb on a playground, play tug-of-war, build something with Play Doh, etc… to increase hand strength so that your child will be able to hold the pencil properly.
7. Broken crayon trick- Break a crayon in half so that only 3 fingers can grasp it, to improve pencil grasp. Find out more about this trick and the developmental grasp pattern of kids as they grow in this article.
Please don’t delay in teaching your child about pencil grasp. Bad habits are easy to form and very difficult to break, especially in terms of handwriting. So use these tips to teach your child the “write” way to hold a pencil before they get into poor habits!