Back to School. Back to Homework.
September 22, 2017
Going back to school also means it’s time to hit the books and stay on top of homework. For younger students, a large portion of homework consists of worksheets and other written assignments. Even though technology is everywhere in our classrooms and likely at home, developing good handwriting skills are still important. In fact, handwritten work increases as children go from elementary to middle school. But handwriting is also important because it boosts brain development. Even in this digital age, handwritten communication is still very critical for all education and career levels.
So, what if your child struggles with handwriting? First, make sure your child is using a good grasp by holding the pencil with the thumb, index, and long fingers. But what if they have trouble holding the position? Have them play with play dough or use a clothespin to move board game pieces. If fine motor skills are a little shaky, playing games like Jenga or “Don’t Spill the Beans” can help. Using lined paper will help your child to know where to start and stop on the line and page. Lastly, use a timer when they’re writing so they do not write for an extended amount of time and ensure they do not apply excessive pressure to reduce potential injuries or strains.
Tracing shapes can become boring after a while, so how about changing the medium from pencil and paper to something less mundane? Some options for that are:
Writing apps you can download like Handwriting without Tears.
Window crayons or dry erase markers on windows. (The marks will disappear with a window cleaner and paper towels.)
Bath crayons in the tub.
Write on an AquaDoodle or MagnaDoodle.
Make a rainbow salt tray (see below).
Don’t let handwriting become a battle in your household! Get creative! If these activities are not enough or you need more ideas, contact us at Hayes Hand Center.
Making a Rainbow Salt Writing Tray:
¼ cup of salt with added red food coloring
¼ cup of salt with added blue food coloring
¼ cup of salt with added green food coloring
¼ cup of salt with added yellow food coloring
A Ziploc bag for each color you will be using
Large stick, wooden ruler, etc. for writing
Pour salt in the bag and add a few drops of food coloring until you get the desired shade. Work the food coloring into the salt with your hands.
Place the mixture of colored salts on a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
After the salt cools, put it back in the bag and work it with your hands to get the color uniformly into the salt.
Spread the salt on a tray or large baking pan and give your child something to “write” with. Have them practice letters, words, shapes, etc.
*Note: you can choose different colors and use as many different colors as you’d like.