Holding a crayon or pen properly is important because it builds good habits that will facilitate neat and efficient hand-writing.
- Use writing implements that naturally physically prompt/require the proper grasp. For example, break off the top pieces of crayons, thus requiring use of the thumb and pointer finger (a fist grasp cannot be used if the crayon is not long).
- Use special crayons that are pointed on one end and bulbous at the other, thus requiring your child’s hand to cup and properly grasp.
- Make many different materials available for writing (e.g., paper, coloring books, crayons, markers, chalk/chalkboard, finger paint, sand, Magna-Doodle, whipped cream on a high chair tray or table top, etc.)
- Make playful verbalizations while you model the appropriate grasp and make your markings (e.g., draw a vertical line and say “zip”; draw a horizontal line and say “zap” then draw a circle and say “whew”).
- Give shapes meaning (e.g., a circle can be part of a face, a vertical line can be part of a tree).
- Provide guides for tracing (e.g., put a ruler on paper to make a line, put a cup on paper to make a circle)
- Prompt awareness of shapes in the environment (e.g., encourage your child to run his finger along the straight seam of the couch or around the circle of a Frisbee).