Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Teaching Tip Tuesday: Pencil Grip

I have noticed something recently with Monkey Man. He gets really frustrated when he is trying to color, write or do pretty much anything with a crayon, marker or pencil.

This actually popped up a few months back while we were still at the preschool. He told me that he didn't like doing his work because he never got it perfect, a different issue to look at different time. I looked at how he was holding his crayons. He was holding them in his fist and had no real control. I told him that if he would pinch his crayon between his finger and his thumb he would be able to control the crayon better. Sure enough, that was all it took for him -- at that time.

Well, it has recently reared it's ugly head again.

This time the frustration is coming more in the finer movements to stay inside the lines of a coloring book, or to trace lines perfectly. For us, this is a perfectionist issue and not really a physical one. There could be an underlying weakness with the muscles we should address.

I went to where all amazing teachers go to get some insight and tips -- yep, PINTEREST!

Oh my goodness are there the resources when you search, "Pencil Grip". Everything from fine motor activities to develop the muscles, to tips to change the grip, to how to rainbow loom a pencil gripper.

After reading several of these articles I found a few tips:

  1. Pencil grip changes over time. 
  2. You only need to be concerned when their grip is causing them discomfort or issues creating clear handwriting.
  3. Fine motor skills will strengthen the muscles needed for pencil grip.
  4. Practice makes perfect, even when the practice leads to frustration, but that is just our house.
  5. Just like anything make it fun!
Seeing that the physical pencil grip is not the issue for us, it is the control. We are going to step up some fine motor control activities. Ones that mostly require his to use his pincer grip.

We might pick up some clothes pins and do some clothes pin games like over here with Heaps of Laundry. We might trace cookie cutters. We might paint with cotton swabs. Maybe we will pull out a spray bottle like over here at Teaching Mama. We might push beads into playdough. We might play with playdough without tools other than our fingers. Or create a Tinker Tray like this from Still Playing School.  Focus on those small muscles that control the fingers and thumbs.

Now for my big question - why did he inherit my perfectionism? Tips to get that under control?

Embrace Play and Make it a Fun Day!

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