Prep: None / Activity Time: 5 Minutes

Help your child to practice using the proper position of her hand and wrist when drawing and writing. The best position for writing is when the hand is slightly bent upwards. A wrist that is floppy or flexed down does not provide the stability needed to perform fine motor tasks like writing. One way to help your child practice the desired hand and wrist position is to have your child draw, color or paint on a vertical surface. Offer a variety of writing tools and surfaces that will keep her interested and motivated to participate. With repeated opportunities to practice you will observe as her scribbling begins to demonstrate more deliberate dots, lines and curves that will eventually become letters.

  • easel
  • chalkboard, paper pad or whiteboard
  • chalk, crayons or dry erase markers

Step 1: For this activity, you can either use an easel with paper for drawing or set up a chalkboard securely placed in a vertical position. The use of a vertical surface promotes the desired hand position for writing since it is hard to draw on a vertical surface without the desired wrist position.

Step 2: Give your child the appropriate writing tools (crayons or chalk) and encourage her to draw. Let her explore how to use the drawing tools to create lines, scribbles, circles, zigzags or other markings. If your child starts to talk about what she is doing, engage in conversation. Let her show you her creative magic!

Step 3: When she is finished, acknowledge her efforts. You might describe what your child drew. “Oh, look. You drew a blue line from the top to the bottom. Here is a short green curve. I see a yellow circle.”

Step 4: Follow your child’s interest. Short periods of fun practice will help your child associate drawing and writing with positive feelings. Display her work to demonstrate that her attempts are important.

To make it easier, try starting with the whiteboard and dry erase markers. The easy flow of the ink and smooth surface of the board may be less of an effort to make marks than the chalk or crayons. If your child is not interested, you might wait and try again in a few days. Introduce a new drawing surface or writing tool.

See if your child can copy simple lines and shapes.  Make some simple horizontal and vertical lines and see if your child can copy them. Then move on to slanted lines and circles. Don’t expect perfection from your child. This is the age of exploration.  Follow your child's lead and keep it light and fun.