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.