Health & Medical Children & Kid Health

Improving Your Child" s Handwriting Is Child"s Play

Games and toys are the most important tools in Lenora Delaney's professional toolkit.

Lenora, who is a children's Occupational Therapist, says that kids who struggle with poor handwriting and other fine motor challenges benefit greatly from the use of wisely selected toys and puzzles.

"The muscles in a child's hand are very small and they tire quite easily," she said.

"Children's handwriting can be improved, but to do this we need to strengthen their hand muscles so that they can control their pencil better."

"One of the best ways to achieve this improvement is through fun and functional activities"

Lenora suggests that approximately five minutes of play per day is all a child needs to develop sound fine motor skills.

"Colouring books are popular with children and while they are getting enjoyment from trying to stay within the lines, they may not even realise that they are learning about control, pressure and posture," she said.

"Dot to dots books, tracing templates and activities like Aqua Doodle also encourage kids to draw different types of straight, vertical, diagonal, circular and curvy lines. All of this is very important for helping kids to cross their mid-line and to develop visual discrimination skills.'

MOOSE Aquadoodle Draw N Doodle Mat

Lenora also recommends art and craft activities that encourage kids to fold paper use scissors and manipulate Play-Doh or Silly Putty.

"Kids really enjoy cutting different types and textures of paper and making things like paper aeroplanes and birds."

"Parents can also encourage the development of their child's pincer grip by teaching their child to roll Play-Doh into a snake or snowman and then tear it into pieces."

"Another fun thing to do is to hide a small item like a coin or bead in a ball of Play-Doh and have the child find it by tearing the ball apart. All of these activities give hand muscles a work out and help kids to develop the dexterity they need to write more neatly."

When it comes to games, Lenora says that toys that have small parts are best for developing fine motor coordination.

"Of course, mums and dads need to ensure that kids don't put small objects in their mouths, but marbles, Pick-Up Sticks, Lego and stringing beads are all good choices , while puzzles of varying complexity, design and size also keep kids interested and engaged."

Lenora advises parents to seek the support of an Occupational Therapist if play time activities do not seem to be helping the development o f their child's fine motor skills.

"An Occupational Therapist is a professionally trained expert who can assess your child's needs and help your child to overcome their physical challenges."

"A good Occupational Therapist will also give you advice about how you can use the toys in your home to your child's best advantage."

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