Your child is beginning to develop fine motor skills in his fingers and hands. This is the perfect time to add in brief seconds of modeling on how to form shapes and lines. You can do this activity anywhere at any time and it only takes a few seconds using a pillow cushion from a table or chair. Why is this helpful? The tracing motion develops a feel for the lines and circles that make up writing later on in life. The texture of the chair or sofa cushion sends multisensory connections to the brain and your child uses the fine muscles in his hand and fingers.
Step 1: The next time you are sitting on a sofa or a chair, use your finger to model how to trace circles or lines on the cushions, pillows or arms. Your child will naturally want to see what you are doing and copy your movement.
Step 2: Say the name of the shape and invite your child to make one with you. You might say:
I can make a circle, round and round and round. Let me see you make a circle.
Step 3: Be sure to praise your child for whatever effort he shows in copying the motion, even if it doesn’t look anything like what you did. All we are trying to do is build a positive interactive experience with writing.
Step 4: End this activity as soon as your child is ready to move on.
Model how to make a circle without any expectations that your child might copy you. Model the motion, talk about what you are doing and then move on to something of interest to your child.
As you make a shape, describe each movement that you make. For example, if you are modeling a square you might say:
When I make a square, I go across and down, and across and up.