Teaching the littles to master the art of writing can be daunting but there are all sorts of ways to encourage them and make learning seem fun rather than a chore. Lorna, an occupational therapist at The Kalimati Speech and Communication Center, shares her top tips for getting the kids motivated!
Pre-schoolers and Kindergarten children are at the age where they are learning to write the alphabet letters and to write their names. The pre-requisites to writing are visual skills, fine-motor skills such as pencil grip, hand-eye coordination and good posture. Instead of using only pencil and paper children benefit from and enjoy using different sensory methods to help them learn. The different tactile, movement and visual techniques helps them to engage and learn in all sorts of different ways.
Practice forming the letters really big on chalkboard or whiteboard easel. The big arm movements reinforce the smaller movements that are later required of thw hand.
Use chalk and chalkboard – the resistance felt when drawing on a chalkboard provides sensory input to the hand and reinforces the movements being made.
Draw the outline of the letter using dots and in the shape of the letter and have the child connect the dots.
One of my favourites is a real tactile approach – write the letters in smeared shaving foam! The kids will love this messy approach for sure! Smear the foam into a table or make it more fun and have them smear the foam on the mirror or on a window!
Use motions to “draw” the letter in the air with your fingertip! Get the child to try and imitate. You can always put your hand on your child’s to help them get the feel for it.
Roll a “sausage” out of playdough and make it into the letter you are practising. Have the child poke the sausage from top to bottom in the correction direction of formation. Later the child can try and make the sausage letter themselves!
Sand, glorious sand
There is loads of it here in the desert! Write a letter in wet sand using a finger or a stick. You can do the same with salt. Or with cinnamon – that smells great too!!
Draw a letter on a piece of paper and go over it with a thin line of glue. Ask the child to stick small dried beans onto the letter, in the correct direction that you would write. You can do this with so many things – sequins, broken up spaghetti, coloured rice grains!
Kalimati Communication and Rehabilitation Center is a therapy center providing pediatric speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, sign language training and more. We are based in the heart of Mirdif and we offer a warm and welcoming therapy service.