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Writing Tips for 4-7 Year Olds

Engaging 4-7 year old children in developing writing and drawing skills can be challenging at the best of times. With learning from home continuing into Term 2, many parents will be daunted at the prospect of juggling their child’s education with work obligations. Luckily, there are some simple and fun ways to promote the development of drawing and writing skills which are particularly useful if you have a child who balks at putting pencil to paper.

One of the most important factors for kids developing pencil skills is making sure they have well developed core, arm and hand strength. As society has moved towards a more risk averse and tech-based lifestyle, these muscles are not developing as naturally in children as they once did so integrating some simple strengthening activities into your child’s day is going to promote their development in pencil and paper tasks.

  • Games to develop arm and hand strength
    Play games where your child is weight bearing through their hands, for example, Twister, bear walks, crab walks, frog hops and yoga. Do relay races and obstacle courses that integrate crawling and animal walks.
  • Use a vertical surface and spray bottle
    Work on a vertical surface such as an easel or use a whiteboard marker to write on windows, then use a spray bottle to clean afterwards – spray bottles are fantastic for developing hand strength and learning to use two hands together. For older kids, writing out sight words, times tables or sentences in this way can make it much less of a chore.
  • Multisensory techniques
    Use a multisensory approach to teaching letter formations – make the letters from playdough, draw them in chalk on the driveway or side of the house, trace them in Milo or finger paint them on a template. Using a multisensory approach is particularly useful for kids who have poor motor planning or are finding it challenging to remember letter formations. The more senses involved in the motor action, the more powerful the memory of it is.

While brief, what I’ve hoped to highlight is that “learning” doesn’t always mean sitting down at a table with a pencil and paper. The changes that we are all struggling with at the moment can make it particularly challenging for kids to concentrate and integrating some of these activities into your child’s day can help keep them learning, while minimising stress for both them and you!

Guest Author: Julia Hay, a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, offers specialist paediatric OT services for children aged 0-18 for children with sensory processing differences, Autism, ADHD, ODD, Anxiety and complex needs.

Julia’s Place was started in 2016 by Julia Hay. After 5 years working in Sydney’s Inner West, Julia saw the opportunity to provide specific services in the North West and North Shore of Sydney too.

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