Did you know that the journey to being able to write correctly should start long before your child really even knows how to form letters or shapes? It starts with the strengthening of fine motor skills.
Today I’m sharing one of our favorite homeschooling activities. I have three homeschooled children, ages 6 and 4. Yes, twins! It’s not nearly as chaotic as it may seem. To get their little wrists and fingers ready for writing, we do various activities but their favorite by far is lacing cards, taking shoestrings and threading them through holes in specific shapes.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- cardboard or foam from an Arts & Crafts shop (it needs to be sturdy)
- hole punch
- shoelaces, or yarn
- laminator or self-laminating envelopes for extra stability (optional)
GETTING READY FOR PLAY
- Cut cardstock into various shapes. Use geometric shapes to practice math or letters for letter recognition.
- Punch holes about 3/4 or 1 inch apart around the edge of each of the shapes.
Give your child(ren) the string to weave through the holes!
I’ve found that this activity provides a nice session for strengthening tiny little fingers and wrist muscles that my four-year-olds have, but the imagination portion that stems from it is priceless. The song “Go through, go up, go down…” is usually what accompanies my daughter as she strings her shoestring through her shapes.
Some parents aren’t aware of how important it is to do these activities in conjunction with introducing crayons, pencils, markers and other writing utensils to their children. It’s essential because these activities help children perfect their pincer grip – you know, using your thumb and pointer finger together to grab things – which is necessary to hold a pencil properly.
Activities like this are crucial because it allows a break in the sometimes monotonous tasks of tracing or even coloring, and provides a wide range of motion that children can use. They’ll also become aware of the roles of their dominant and non-dominant hands. Stabilizing the cutouts while working the shoestring through the holes really strengthens those little fingers and muscles.