News From The Occupational Therapist

Preschool is a wonderful time for your children to engage in pre-writing activities.  Here at Rise School the days are filled with pre-writing tasks, many of which look like play but these fun activities are encouraging finger and hand strength, finger dexterity, eye-hand coordination and core stability – all skills needed for writing.  Especially important is the development of pencil grasp.  Following is a picture of the developmental progression of pencil grasp.  In the classrooms we observe your children during coloring, drawing, painting, etc. so we know what grasp they are presently using and then develop activities that will help them progress to the next developmental grasp.

The following is a list of activities that encourage developmental progression of a child’s pencil grasp:
•    Working at a vertical surface (painting at an easel, drawing on a chalkboard,  placing stickers on paper taped to the wall, playing with magnets on the fridge) – encourages trunk stability and strength, shoulder stability, arm strength, wrist extension
•    Wheelbarrow walking – weight bearing on hands encourages strength in upper body, shoulder, arms and hands; also gives needed tactile input to palm of hands
•    Squeezing, stretching, rolling PlayDoh, clay, theraputty – improves finger and hand strength
•    Picking up small beads, beans, buttons, macaroni, pom poms and placing in the opening of a plastic bottle – improves strength and efficiency of the pincer grasp (thumb and index finger)
•    Pinching clothespins onto edge of paper plate or cardboard box – improves finger and hand strength
•    Using different sizes and types of writing tools (markers, skinny chalk, fat crayons, skinny and short crayons, colored pencils, etc.) allows the child to explore and practice different ways of holding the tool

- Lynn Vosbeek, OT