Therapist Thursday…..Creating a Good Foundation (Pencil Grasp 101)

By: Amy Bumgarner, OTR/L

Last week we talked about the pros and cons to pencils grips to help with pencil grasps.  (That’s a mouthful 🙂  )  This week we are going to learn how to help those little finger muscles develop and strengthen with several activities, and the best part, they are fun activities so it won’t seem like “work.”

So, how can you fix the underlying problem? We strategically developed the products in Fundanoodle to address hand strength and dynamic finger movements in preparation for holding a pencil.  In the “I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, and Trace” kit the overall purpose is to work on hand strengthening so that a child develops appropriate muscle strength for holding a writing utensil.  All of the activities work on using the thumb and first two fingers, as you would in ripping paper, holding bead for lacing, or balling up tissue paper with the fingertips.  We think it is very important to work on prewriting skills at early age, instead of holding an actually pencil.  These skills will foster appropriate grasp development necessary for later writing.  The “I Can Doodle” floor pad is great for developing shoulder and arm muscles in preparation for holding a pencil. You can place the sheets of paper on the floor or wall which will develop larger muscles of the body.  As these muscles become stronger, it will be easier to use the hands for smaller movements.

Some other fun activities include:
Using clothespins

Spraying a water bottle

Screwing and unscrewing nuts and boltshandsworkingtogether1
Popping bubble wrapsummerpinch1Tong activities. You can use tongs from the dollar store or ones in the kitchen. Tongs are great for sorting!

Pennies in
a piggy bank or jar with a slitsummerpinch2
Toothpicks in the holes of an empty shaker spice containersummerpinch5Wheelbarrow walkingAnimal walksHanging
Monkey Barsstrong writer 3

 

Remember, it is important to work on these underlying skills at a young age.  Once a child is older, it is often difficult to change a grasp pattern.  If your child is having difficulty with grasp patterns, it may be beneficial to find an occupational therapy in your area to further assist you.

So, if your child is demonstrating an awkward grasp when holding the pencil, work on some of these activities to work on strengthening the arm and hand muscles!

 

***The highlighted activities are ones we have already introduced for a good foundation for little fingers.  Click on the links to learn more.

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