How to start teaching how to hold a pencil?

(10 Posts)
cairnterrier Sat 06-Jul-13 07:45:11

Ds aged 3.6 is starting to show an interest in writing things properly ( ie with a bit more control rather than just random scribbling). How do I encourage him how to hold a pencil 'properly'? Are there any YouTube clips out there that people can recommend? Is it worth getting those pencils with the triangular grips on the side?

Thanks

TiggyD Sat 06-Jul-13 10:50:48

Triangular pencils are really great!

For a child to be able to 'write' they need to be able to sit down for a while. (If they don't want to, clipboards are good and are found in most nurseries). Then they need good shoulder control to be able to get the arm in the right kind of position. Then the need to be able to do fiddly things with their fingers. If they can't do the physical things they need there's not much point in trying to go straight for finely controlled writing.
Go for 'mark making activities' first. Colouring pictures of things they like is always a good start. Drawing with a stick in mud. Fingers in sand on a beach or in a tray or sandpit. Painting.
And there's Lego. Not mark making, but the best fiddly exercise for boys!

cairnterrier Mon 08-Jul-13 22:27:40

Thanks tiggy!

teacherlikesapples Mon 15-Jul-13 10:47:23

I wouldn't place any emphasis on holding the pencil correctly at the moment (certainly don't make your child conscious of anything needing to be done 'correctly' in terms of writing at the moment.) They are very much at an experimental stage, so the aim should be getting them to choose it as much as possible. Making them self conscious of not being able to do things 'properly' is often very discouraging. Especially because they will be developing awareness that their marks are not like the ones you can do, for example.

As Tiggy said- there are several skills that need to be developed before your child will have the muscles & understanding needed to have correct pencil grip, so focusing on getting the grip correct at this stage may be counterproductive and premature.

To develop strength & dexterity:

* Malleable materials of different consistencies: playdough, plastercine, clay. Encourage DS to squeeze, roll & pinch. Make a short game of it.

* Water play: tipping, pouring, shaking full containers, eyedroppers putting lids on bottles. All strengthen the arms & hands and develop muscle control and co-ordination. Same applies to sand play.

* Threading small beads onto elastic/string.

* paintbrushes of various sizes & buckets of water (this is a great activity for encouraging experimenting with mark making as the marks disappear quickly in the sunshine- so DS will feel no pressure to get anything 'correct' and can just be free to practice & experiment) Develops hand/should strength & co-ordination.

* Mobilo, duplo, lego.

* Stickers - having to peel them develops the muscles needed for correct pencil grip. Same applies to peeling clementine oranges!

* Encouraging DS to dress himself- buttons, socks, zips all encourage the muscles needed.

To develop understanding:

Point out shapes in the environment.
Point out shapes within their marks. Focus on what they can achieve & do- e.g If they are at a scribbling stage- occasionally point out the straight & curved lines "oh you have made a lovely circle in there"
Letters are after all made up of straight & curved lines, but obviously that is not all mark making is good for- so it shouldn't be the only priority.

If his name was Bobby you might point out the straight line on a B then show him where he has made a straight line on his drawing.
To be effective & low pressure these types of comments should be very brief, genuine & light hearted. Just a passing observation.

Wheresmum Wed 14-Aug-13 20:10:39

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bebanjo Tue 20-Aug-13 00:09:02

You could get some stockmer crayons, be perfared they are not cheap BUT, they are unbrakeble the Colors are wonderful and you can only hold them with a correct pencil grip.
Good luck.

kimmills222 Thu 22-Aug-13 08:41:23

It's normal for a kid your son's age to start off holding the pencil using his whole hand. It is about strengthening his hand/finger muscles first. You could try different activities initially such as Play-dough use, squeezing the water out of the sponges, get thicker pencils initially. Get him to draw on an easel and make it a fun activity for him.

porcupine1001 Mon 09-Sep-13 16:26:05

I think it is important to keep on eye on this
it is easily overlooked and once they have settled on a method of holding the pencil it is there for life
I am not sure when the best time to intervene/correct without discouraging is
but I wouldn't rely on nurseries to correct it

There's quite a lot of info online about pencil grips and what's developmentally appropriate, rather than right/wrong. Worth a look, especially as it'll show that there's no single right way - my dad spent years trying to get me to 'correct' my quadropod grip, to our immense mutual frustration, and there's nothing whatsoever wrong with it!

porcupine1001 Wed 11-Sep-13 23:32:51

just had a search to see what quadropod grip was
one of mine uses that, I would be happy if all mine used tripod or the quad
but some of the grips are quite bizarre and quite awkward looking
and its not about being right or wrong I just think some of the grips are better than others and if you catch them at the right time they can be corrected

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