I've just recently learned that kids need to build strength in their hands to be able to write and draw. At gym class with 'B', the instructor said that the jungle gym, trapeze ropes, and bar equipment were fabulous tools to increase kids hand strength.
Last week the NY Times ran an article “Watch How You Hold That Crayon”, about occupational therapy and handwriting. In the article Anthony DiCarlo, a Principal stated:
"In the last five years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of kids who don’t have the strength in their hands to wield scissors or do arts and crafts projects, which in turn prepares them for writing."
He goes on to say that while many kids enter school with accomplishments like good reading and counting skills, music appreciation, yoga, computer and television games and even adult-led sports teams, they may not have had enough time in creative, outdoor, play.
“I’m all for academic rigor,” he said, “but these days I tell parents that letting their child mold clay, play in the sand or build with Play-Doh builds important school-readiness skills, too."
The importance of hand strength and coordination was emphasized again yesterday during a school tour that I attended. The classrooms had countless learning tools to help kids improve hand strength.
All children need ample opportunities for hands-on play with simple, traditional toys. The basic games that we did as children have fallen out of the mainstream for kids today and that means they aren't having the opportunities to build their hand strength.
Playing on the equipment at the playground or gym is a great way for kids to build strength for handwriting. I’ve also listed some fantastic, inexpensive toys and games that will help children increase hand strength, improve coordination, and expand attention skills. You might even recognize some of the toys and games on this list as toys or games used in your youth.
- Lauri Tall-Stackers Pegs Building Set
- Lauri Toys Primer Pak
- Lauri Shape & Color Sorter
- Quercetti Filo Play Set - A Novel Lacing Tool with 18 Pattern Templates to Create Art with String- for Ages 4 and Up (Made in Italy)
- Educational Insights Design & Drill Activity Center
- ALEX Toys Little Hands Tissue Paper Art
- ALEX Toys Clay Party
- Quercetti Kaleido Gears - 55 Piece Building Set with 3 Different Sized Gears - Turn the Crank and Create a Chain Reaction! Ages 3 + (Made in Italy)
- The World of Eric Carle(TM) Animal Lacing Cards
- My Book of Easy Mazes (Kumon Workbooks)
- Melissa & Doug Magnetic Chalkboard and Dry-Erase Board With 36 Magnets, Chalk, Eraser, and Dry-Erase Pen
- Multi-Colored Coinstruction Super Set
- Quercetti Fantacolor Junior Mosaic Pegboard Set - 16 Pattern Cards, 48 Large Pegs and Carry-Case with Storage for Ages 2 and Up (Made in Italy)
- FLEXOAM 42 PIECE SET by Mindscope
- Manhattan Toy Puzzibits Megamix Set, 1250-Pieces
- Lite-Brite Cube
- Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Lacing Beads - Educational Activity With 27 Beads and 2 Laces
- Hasbro Perfection Board Game 25 pieces
- Play-Doh 24-Pack of Colors
- Pressman Toys Giant Pick Up Sticks 9 3/4 long
- Pixelblocks Dream 875 Block Set - 5003
- Colorforms Silly Faces Stick-Ons Game
- 1000 Stickers
- Straws & Connectors - 705 Piece Set
- Tricky Fingers
- The Wikki Stix Book of Wiggles, Squiggles & Curlicues
- Hog Wild Zoo Sticks Party Set(Pack of 8)