Activities to encourage a good pencil grip

Developing a good pencil grip is important for your child.

A good pencil grip is one that is relaxed enough to allow a fair amount of finger movement and does not hurt or tire the hand when writing.

The most common grasp is called a tripod grasp as illustrated below.

In a Tripod grasp the index finger and the thumb pinch the pencil and the pencil rests on the third finger.

To be able to develop a good pencil grasp a child needs to be able to move each finger in isolation, develop good shoulder and wrist stability and strong hand muscles.

Here are a list of activities that assist in developing a good pencil grasp.

1. Shoulder and wrist stability

  • Weight bearing into the arms. You can achieve this by:


-crab walking

-yoga poses

– donkey kicks

  • Drawing, colouring or painting on a vertical surface such as a blackboard, easel or wall.
  • Using a clipboard on the floor to draw on.
  • Playing with lego on a lego mat.
  • Using magnets on the fridge or a magnetic surface.

2. Strengthening the hand

  • Pegboards.
  • Lacing activities.
  • Threading beads.
  • Squeezing water out of sponges.
  • Playing with Playdough.
  • Kneading bread or cookie dough.
  • Cutting paper
  • Making slime.
  • Activities that involve tweezers or tongs.

3. Developing the hands arches

  • Walking on all fours, pretend play as animals.
  • Rolling dice in the palm of your hand.
  • Rolling balls from clay or playdough.
  • Finger play rhymes.
  • Making shadow puppets.

Always remember to stop an activity if your toddler has lost interest. Rather come back to that activity when they are excited about completing the task.

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