Handwriting Helps: Play Pack – Fine Motor Review

Play Pack - Fine Motor ReviewIs your child struggling with writing his letters? Or do they have trouble holding a pencil comfortably, or maybe they grasp it very tightly? Maybe your student hates to work in his handwriting book. Sometimes these issues can come from a lack of hand strength or fine finger coordination. Play-Pack-Fine Motor addresses these common issues. It also uses fun activities that give your child a break from the everyday handwriting routine.

Fine Motor Play Pack consists of resource cards and 15 game cards of child oriented activities, to help develop the following:

  1. Hand strength
  2. Finger strength and coordination
  3. Learning the “fine pincer grip” on the pencil

Working and playing with the Fine Motor Play Pack can help your student to improve all of these essential skills, which are building blocks to good handwriting!

A fun way to strengthen the finger muscles.

A fun way to strengthen the finger muscles.

IMPROVING HAND STRENGTH

There are four play cards for developing hand strength and arm coordination. Each card includes a picture of the activity and clear explanations of how to do it:

  1. Squirt Bottle Art
  2. Spring Flowers
  3. Body Part Beanbag
  4. Flashlight Tag

In Squirt Bottle Art, the child squirts colored water onto a sheet a paper that is taped to the fridge so that it is high up. This not only strengthens the hand muscles, it also provides practice in using the little shoulder movements necessary for good handwriting. And it’s fun!

Each card has clear, easy to read instructions.

Each card has clear, easy to read instructions.

FINGER STRENGTH AND COORDINATION

Regular activities such as cutting, drawing, finger painting, lego building, playing jacks, and playdough are all great activities to develop the finger muscles. But what do you do when our child shys away from small muscle play? Here are three more ideas to try, from Play Pack:

  1. Pizza Party
  2. Fun With Shapes
  3. Hand Art

Do it with playdough, or do it with biscuit dough, and make a snack of it!

Do it with playdough, or do it with biscuit dough, and make a snack of it!

For Pizza Party, your child makes a pizza from play dough, then cuts the pizza into slices with scissors. Fun and strengthening finger muscles at the same time! Adding toppings to the pizza, etc can provide even more helpful practice. Ask your child to make tiny balls out of the play dough, then move them around from one finger to the other, using the finger tips. This is great for small muscle coordination. Also moving a pencil a small ball around from one finger to the other…these help to develop the tiny muscles of the hand!

P1260624DEVELOPING A FINE PINCER GRIP

Kids often start with a “palmar grip” pattern, which means holding the crayon in the palm of the hand, with the fingers wrapped around it. This is very common, and a normal part of development. Some kids naturally move to the fine pincer grip, over the years, as they grow, but some kids don’t. There are ways to encourage this more controlled grip, for handwriting. As you see in the photo above, the fine pincer grip is simply refers to the the way we adults usually hold our pens. Holding the tip of pencil or pen with the tips of the thumb and first two fingers – that’s a fine pincer grip.

Once your child learns to hold his pencil this way, it can really help his handwriting! But remember, it takes time, and a playful approach helps a lot.

P1260614To gently encourage this fine pincer grip, PLAY PACK-Fine Motor offers these activities:

  1. Bubble Wrap Maze
  2. Cotton Ball Flick
  3. Eyedropper Collage

P1260621The Bubble Wrap Maze gives practice in the fine pincer grip, by popping the bubbles with the fingertips. Make it a game and pinch along a path on the bubble wrap! Learning this grip pattern can take a lot of practice and it’s ok if your child continues to use their own grip style for awhile. Some kids do well with their own unique grip patterns.

Improving handwriting skills happens best with a playful approach. And that’s what Play-Pack-Fine Motor is all about! So, put away your handwriting books for awhile, get out the crayons, finger painting and Play Pack cards. Have fun with small motor skill activities. (and don’t forget pudding finger painting!)

Play Pack -Fine Motor was developed by an Occupational Therapist and is available through Draw Your World at www.drawyourworld.com. You can also find their Draw Write Now books there as well, for writing and drawing practice. And please look for another review by this author on more handwriting helps on aids for handwriting.

~Betsy is a veteran homeschooler who lives with her husband and teen daughter near Puget Sound. She uses an elcectic mix of approaches in her homeschooling. Betsy is currently offering homeschool consulting to The Curriculum Choice families who are starting on their homeschool journeys or who have questions about a homeschooling issue, etc. To reach her, see BJs Homeschool Consulting or please send an IM to Betsy Sproger.

Betsy (36 Posts)

Betsy is a writer, blogger, and most importantly, mom to her 18 year old, who was adopted as an infant. She blogs at BJ's Homeschool about their 14 year homeshooling journey, to provide their daughter with the 1 on 1's and the nurturing spirit of learning at home. And this year, their teen was accepted by four colleges! Betsy blogs about how to's and tips for aiming towards college. She enjoys gardening, writing christian stories for preschoolers, and getting out in nature as a family. Betsy also offers free homeschool help to families here.


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