Improve Children's Handwriting

More outside play over this past summer and increased use of tablets and other technology can erase progress made during the school year on handwriting. If your child is struggling with handwriting, there are some fun things you can do to help.

Handwriting is far more complex than most realize. There are essentially three components to good handwriting that parents can easily monitor: formation, position, and spacing. Letter formation is different than letter construction. Letters should be formed starting from the top, not the bottom, and should start on the left and not the right. Learning Without Tears® offers an excellent handwriting curriculum and offers free downloads. Positioning means that letters should sit right on the line. Letters like g, j, y, etc. dip below the line. Sizing should also be consistent, and all capitals are the same size. Finally, there should be proper space between letters and between words. Placing a finger after a word helps ensure enough space is allowed.

Sitting at a table and putting pencil to paper day after day is, fortunately, not necessary. Consider these alternative fun and creative ways to practice letter formation:

  • Draw letters in sand, dirt, cornstarch, flour, or rice. It ‘erases’ easily! Trays or bins keep the medium contained.
  • Form letters in shaving cream – on nearly any surface. Add food coloring for extra fun!
  • Finger paints – Use fingers, Q-tips, cotton balls, or paint brushes to write letters and words. Or, put paint in a Ziploc bag, lay it flat, and draw letters with a Q-tip.
  • Sidewalk chalk is great on black construction paper, as well as on concrete.
  • Dry erase markers on a mirror make for fun messages to be discovered.
  • Play-Doh – Roll out snake-like pieces and form letters. Easier clean-up outside is a bonus for mom and dad.
  • Squeeze paint or icing from a condiment squeeze bottle to form letters.

If your kids can’t get enough of that messy play outside, an outdoor paint easel can provide hours of fun. Even cleaning it is fun, using a garden hose! Here's how to make one!

Just five minutes a day will have powerful results for your child. Happy writing!

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