When a young child is sent off to preschool for the first time, every parent hopes that it will be the beginning of a fun, educational path. At this stage of their life, your child is developing new skills every single day, and it is your job to make sure they have the physical tools to help them learn.
One thing they will tackle early on in preschool is learning how to write, and the stronger their hand muscles are, the easier this task will be for them. There are several things you can do at home to help strengthen your child's hand muscles, so they can grip pens and pencils easier. Which of these hand exercises do you think would suit your child best?
Gripping Large building blocks
Large building blocks are an inexpensive way to get your child used to pick up objects. Be sure to choose the bigger blocks aimed for younger children because the smaller version quickly becomes an exercise in frustration for little kids. Building blocks help your child close their fingers around an object and grasp it so they can move it while building. This skill will help them when it is time to pick up pencils and start to write words.
Using Play dough
Play dough is a fabulous tool for building up hand muscles in kids. It can be squeezed, rolled and played with. These three movements build the hand and finger muscles. Roll out a small snake of play dough and teach your child how to pick it up and hold it like a pencil. This will get them used to the feeling of a pencil before you transition to the real thing.
It is hard for a little one to get used to writing with pencils to begin with as the lead point easily breaks when they apply too much pressure. Giving your child access to big chunky crayons early on in their development not only develops their hand muscles as they learn to grasp but also teaches them about pressure. Crayons snap in two if too much pressure is applied when using them, but they are not as fragile as pencils.
When you have concerns about your child's ability to perform in preschool, talk to the teacher about other exercises they know of which can help to strengthen the muscles in your child's hands. The stronger they get, the faster they can begin learning to write, and this opens up a whole new world of expression for them.
It's so great to see children asking questions. I try and view childhood education as a process where they ask questions, and we work together to work out the answer. It's more important to know how to find answers than to know every countries names, or the height of the highest mountains in the world. If children can stay curious about their world, then they will keep learning and become powerful citizens. This site has my tricks for helping children and hot to encourage learning within day to day life, and within the formal education environment. I hope you enjoy!