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Grip It! Grip It Good!

It didn’t take long to get our first “Your child needs to work on ______” conversation at our son’s preschool. He’s a great kid, kinda silly and wild at times, but sweet, funny, and is already reading. He has never been interested in writing, however, and I knew that was a challenge he would soon be faced with at school.

Immediately after hearing that Miles was having trouble gripping his pencil (he had a pretty classic “caveman grasp”), I asked my Facebook friends, particularly teachers, for their best tips. I also started doing all the things his teachers suggested, things like using clothespins like tweezers and playing with Play-Doh. I also searched Pinterest for any ideas that could help him strengthen his hand and finger muscles as well as just teaching that correct grip.

Here’s some link love for all the great resources I found:

A lot of those are kind of all-encompassing lists and they might not all be right for your child, but there plenty to choose from! See them all on my Pre-Writing and Writing Help Pinterest board, which I’m sure to be adding to as Miles’s skills develop and as we work on them with Spencer!
Here’s a few photos of us doing some of these activities:
Picking up pipe cleaner “worms” (Idea found here, at

 Sticking pipe cleaners into a colander (Found all over the Internet, including here at Hands On As We Grow)

And finally, the trick that really made it click for Miles.

My mom (a teacher) had a colleague suggest to her that we take a piece of toilet paper, fold it up, and have him grasp it under his pinky and ring finger so that he will only have three fingers available to hold the marker. Apparently this is an Occupational Therapy tip, some kind of secret golden magic-making technique. You can read more about it here at Rocks In My Dryer!

Here’s how his handwriting looks now, a little over a month in to preschool (three half-days a week):

It’s not perfect, but I’m so proud of him for the progress he has made! He has gone from refusing to hold the marker to being thrilled to show off the letters and numbers he worked on writing at school that day! I’m so thankful his teachers responded quickly to his needs and were patient and encouraging.

What are your favorite tips for helping kids learn to write and hold their pencil correctly? I’d love to add them to my Pinterest board!

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About Krista

Krista is a full-time working mom of two boys, currently aged 6 and 7. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, Brandon.