Anyone with kids, especially boys, can know how hard it is to help them get their handwriting to a legible state. It starts when they are young as a scribble and progresses as they get older. Well, my youngest who is 3, and my special needs son who is 14, both have a lot of trouble in this area. I don’t want to push them and I know that it will happen in time but I was running out of ideas to get them interested and to encourage them in this area.
My 4 year old just picked up a crayon one day and started writing his name.The 3 year old has shown absolutely no interest in wanting to draw, trace, or attempt to write his name. He would ‘trace’ them with a toy dinosaur or a race car but nothing more than that. He knows the majority of the alphabet by sight and can tell you what the sounds are but just doesn’t want to write.
We have used playdough to make letters. We have tracing pads, tracing games on the tablets, and a variety of other activities. Sometimes they like to pull out the Wikki Stix and use them as well to make letters. When it comes to actually writing they would often just plain out refuse or the 14 year old would conveniently ‘forget’ how to write.
That was before Christmas. For Christmas the kids received a couple of drawing pads. They love them! Then we also got a couple more of the same things, see So Much More Than A Basketball, at their older sister’s house. This was indeed a blessing!
Now the boys have been drawing and drawing and drawing. First thing they grab in the morning is a drawing pad. They wait for their Grandpa to stop in and they play ‘Guess What I Drew?’ with him. The kids don’t realize that they are strengthening their fine motor skills, they are learning the proper way to hold a writing utensil, and they are using their imaginations. The difference a couple of weeks can make has been incredible!
The 3 year old is not only learning to draw some amazing art work but he has been practicing his letters as well. He walks around the house with his drawing pad and finds letters and words to copy. Now he will ask me to write things on the drawing pad for him to copy too.
This enthusiasm has rubbed off on big brother as well and he has been practicing his name on the drawing pads and on the huge chalkboard in the playroom. It makes my heart smile to see them happily doing these things on their own. We didn’t have ‘school’ for the past two weeks either so that has given them a chance to explore and practice on their own. This is helping them to build their independent working skills as well.
Another benefit is that the kids are also learning to read! As they walk around copying things they always ask someone to read what they wrote. Then in turn they repeat it and before we even realised it the kiddos are reading everything!
This is a picture of the art work the 3 year old left on my desk: