Numerous studies in the last decade have proven that learning to write by hand has many benefits. In fact, experts say kids who write by hand write more, faster, and in more complete sentences. To help your child embrace the process, assemble these supplies at home.
What: An electric pencil sharpener
Why: What’s more satisfying than sharpening a whole box of pencils to their pointiest points? Put your child in charge of this job—it will naturally lead her to trying them out.
Keep these nearby: Pencils labeled No. 1 have the softest “lead” and require less pressure from little fingers; practice with these before moving on to No. 2s. Colored pencils are also a must. Stash a stack of lined paper just an arm’s length away.
What: Felt-tip and roller-ball pens
Why: They require less pressure than ballpoints; they’re especially good for new and struggling writers.
Keep these nearby: Lots of colorful pens, including neons
What: Pencil grippers
Why: These cushiony slip-ons can reduce writing fatigue.
Keep these nearby: An assortment of shapes and sizes that kids can mix and match to their favorite pencils, pens, and markers
What: A dry-erase board
Why: It’s a great tool for the “letter game.” You call out letters of the alphabet for your child to write on the dry-erase board. Start with one letter, wipe the slate clean, and move on to another. Progress from letters to words to script.
Keep these nearby: Erasers and markers made especially for dry-erase boards, and wipes for hands
Why: Cooked spaghetti is fun to shape into round and curvy letters like o and s, and dried spaghetti works for the straight ones. Snap lengths to form all the lines of an E, and mix and match dried and cooked spaghetti for letters like d and b.
Keep these nearby: Long-length pasta, including spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine
What: Beads to string and cards to lace
Why: Time spent weaving and stringing enhances the fine motor skills and improves the pincer grip kids need to properly hold a pencil.
Keep these nearby: A hole punch, shoelaces, card stock, beads in all colors and sizes, and faux gemstones
What: Tweezers, eyedroppers, and clothespins
Why: Pinching tools can be repurposed into playthings that exercise small muscles in the hand.
Keep these nearby: Age-appropriate arts-and-crafts ideas for every household item you can think of. Find ideas here.