Today I am SO excited to share our new favorite way to practice letter formation, handwriting, tripod grasp, strengthening, and up-cycling. (Yep, up-cycling at it’s finest, here!) We have been using foam vegetable trays for handwriting and letter practice a lot. If you purchase any fruits or vegetables in foam trays, SAVE them! They will come in handy for a fun handwriting activity!
Teach letter formation and handwriting with a foam tray!
Save those foam trays from fruits or vegetables. These foam trays are primarily found holding meats, but even after a thorough washing, I would feel nervous about allowing my kiddo to write and play with a foam tray that held raw meat. You can purchase the foam trays here
if you are having trouble finding them in the produce department of your grocery store. SIDE NOTE- You can also use take-out containers. Wash and dry the lid and cut the flat part. You’re now ready to practice letter formation and handwriting.
We asked for an extra set of chop sticks after a recent dinner of Chinese food take-out. Use the chopsticks as a writing utensil on the foam tray.
You can have the child write their name and letters for handwriting practice.
Encourage appropriate letter formation by starting at the top and forming the letter appropriately. The resistive surface of the foam tray will provide feedback through the hand as the child writes the letters.
This is a great name writing activity for young kids. For younger kids, I would write the name or letters first lightly on the foam.
Because of the surface of the foam tray, it can be easy for the chopstick to go off course when writing. A “track” for them to trace would help with appropriate letter formation.
Tripod grasp and strengthening during handwriting
Using the chopsticks on the foam tray is excellent for fine motor strength and tripod grasp. The small diameter of the chopstick requires a close and tight grip.
It may be easy for a child to assume an ineffective grasp on the chopsticks, but encourage then to hold the tip of the chopstick with the thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger with an open thumb web space as they write.
Maintaining this grasp while forming letters on the resistive foam will strengthen and encourage a memory of a motor plan as they form the letters.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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