Early Language/Fine Motor/Writing Tips

Writing and Fine Motor Development(Kindergarten readiness)

Children should have strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers before being asked to manipulate a pencil on paper. These days it is becoming more commonplace for children to have writing difficulties and an inappropriate pencil grasp because young children are engaged in writing experiences before their hands are ready. This leads to frustration on both the parts of the parents and children.

I have collected three excellent websites to get ideas for building strength and dexterity through manipulatives and fine motor skill development.

Developing Fine Motor Skills

Activities with Fine Motor Manipulatives

Handwriting and Fine Motor Activities

Activities to Develop Wrist and Hand Control

Please keep in mind that children should be supervised at all times when manipulating small objects.
• Cause and effect toys.
• Shape sorters.
• Blocks.
• Books.
• Toys with resistance such as pop beads, Lego’s, velcro, tinker toys, and magnets.
• Instead of handing your child toys, give them resistance and tell them to pull the toy.
• Crayons and craft activities, the smaller the better.
• Squeezable glues and paints.
• Tearing paper and crumpling paper into small pieces.
• Manipulating small objects like glueing confetti to paper or peeling small stickers.
• Play Doh activities with cookie cutters, rolling pins, scissors, and plastic knifes. Roll the play Doh into balls, press it down with fingers, pull it apart, or hide objects in it to have child open it up to pull the object out.
• Rapper snappers.
• Coins into a slot.
• Pegs into a pegboard.
• Puzzles with small knobs.
• Any game that has small pieces and resistance.
• Finger puppets.
• Finger play (i.e. making eye glasses with fingers).
• Chalk on a chalkboard.
• Squeeze a bulb (i.e. nasal bulb) or bath toy to suck up water and squirt. You can use air to blow cotton balls or paper.
• String beads on lace or on a pipe cleaner.
• Wikki stix.
• Color with 3/4 inch crayons, Crayola has triangular crayons that promote finger placement.
• Play with rice, beans, sand, and water using spoons and cups.
• Hand races: See who can pick up the most objects the fastest while keeping the objects in their hand without dropping them.
• Pick up objects with ice tongs.
• Buttons, snaps, and latches.
• Sand art.
• Games with tweezers (i.e. Bed Bugs or Operation).
• Games with small pieces (i.e. Hi Ho Cherry O, Light Bright, screws/nuts/bolts, Ants in the Pants, Kerplunk, or pick-up sticks).
• Travel size games (i.e. Connect Four, HI –Q, or a fishing game).
• Fill balloon with flour to squeeze.
• Scissor activities (i.e. cut Play Doh, cardboard, and paper).
• Flashlights with squeeze buttons.
• Wind up toys.
• Squeeze clothes pins, you can have child pick up objects with them or incorporate them into any game for more fun.
• Have the child try to open the clothespins from the closed side. You can have them do repetitions and/or see how long they can hold it open. You can make this fun by having races to see who can hold the clothespin open the longest.
TAKEN FROM ARTICLE Tummy Time and Handwriting by Melissa Silvestro, OTR/L)

Free printable pre-writing practice worksheets
Free printable scissors skills worksheets

Letter/Sound Recognition:
Wikki Stix Alphabet Cards

Triple Play Letter Sounds

E-Z as ABC’s game

Free Alphabet Printable Exercises from Starfall.com

Free printable alphabet dominoes

Sight word practice:

Kinesthetic activities

  • writing the words on paper, on the chalkboard
  • building the words out of playdough, clay, or using magnetic letters
  • fingerpainting the words in finger paint or pudding or shaving cream
  • playing word hopscotch – using the sight words instead of numbers (can be done either indoors or out).
  • tracing the words in a layer of cornmeal on a cookie sheet
  • playing word hullaballoo. Have the child write the words on large pieces of paper , scatter them on the floor, and call out directions to the child ala the game Hullabaloo. “Jump to the word ___”, “Swim on over to the word____”, “Crawl over to the word ____”

Memory games

  • make duplicates of the flash cards and play games like memory (shuffle the duplicated cards, lay them face down and try to pick two of the same words) or go fish
  • put all but one of the flash cards on a tray and see if the child remembers which card is missing, repeat a few times with different missing words.

Sight word treasure hunt.
Post the sight words visibly around the house. Have child look for the words. Have them write the word down and see how many they can find.


4 Responses to Early Language/Fine Motor/Writing Tips

  1. homeschoollearningforlife says:

    I have already used so many of these links from your site – they are great. Thanks.

  2. growinginpeace says:

    You’re welcome. When I find more, I will be posting more. I’m always on the lookout for good teaching aids.

  3. Lak says:

    I’m always on the look out for sites which have interesting material for children re: penmanship. I found this one which has very useful information about fine motor skills, red and blue lined paper which can be printed out and they have a section which allows you to type in words which get transformed to writing practice pages.

    It at:



  4. growinginpeace says:

    Oh, awesome! Thanks for sharing it. I’ll add it above to my links.

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