Stop grip problems before they start.
When I walk into a class of preschoolers, I quickly scan the room to see if the class uses skinny or chubby pencils and crayons. Most of the time, I am disappointed. Occupational therapists know the value of carefully choosing writing tools in developing fine motor skills. However, most preschool teachers use regular pencils, markers, and crayons without thinking of the consequences.
The internet is filled with conflicting opinions about strengthening fine motor skills. One blog suggests fat pencils and chubby crayons are a passing “fad.” Another educator refers to a jumbo pencil as an impossible to grasp “tree trunk.” If there is a fad today, it is the use of short, stubby golf pencils in place of jumbo pencils. But the use of golf pencils actually supports the case for chubby writing tools~ just make sure they are stubby.
Let’s take a look at why stubby writing tools avoid grip problems in the future. A child begins to develop grip by 3 months old. Toddlers and preschoolers have developing fine motor skills and need a variety of opportunities to develop strength. Likewise, left or right domination may not be fully realized as well. If the writing tool is too skinny, the child is forced to make adjustments to the grip in order to manipulate it. However, a short, round, and stubby crayon cannot be gripped incorrectly. Try this experiment at home. Even an adult has to use the proper grip with a 1″ short, chubby crayon.
Don’t forget to let the child lay on the floor with a large piece of paper to color. A reclining child will support their body with their shoulders. With their shoulders engaged, their fingers will do the work of coloring. In fact, not only are stubby, chubby crayons better for grip and strengthening, they offer a more tactile experience. The tactile sensation of pressing wax on paper is not offered by pencils or magic markers.
So, do not throw away those broken crayons. They make perfect writing tools for developing fine motor skills. Just make sure the pencils and crayons are short and stubby. Write on!