Cutest Ever Bear Craft Christmas Ornament

If you have kids, you probably have read one of the Bear Books by Karma Wilson.  Books from the bear series are often on our library haul, so when we decided to make a Christmas tree ornament based on a childhood book, we knew that we had to make a bear craft Christmas ornament based on Bear Stays Up for Christmas.  We do love to come up with crafts and activities based on children’s books and this Christmas book themed Christmas ornament craft was no exception.


Check out these Christmas Fine Motor Activities for more creative ways to work on fine motor skills and address development of skills this Christmas season. 




Bear craft Christmas ornament based on the book Bear Stays Up for Christmas.


Bear Craft Christmas Ornament



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When we came up with this bear craft, we knew we wanted to create a cute bear that matched the bear in Karma Wilson’s Bear Stays Up for Christmas.  The bear books are such a fun series to read and we loved to see Bear’s friends help him stay up to celebrate Christmas.


Bear Stays Up for Christmas is the perfect book to add to your reading list this Christmas season.  It shows us how bear discovers the best gift of all is giving.  How fun would it be to read this book, make the cute bear craft Christmas ornament, and then give it to a friend?


You’ll need just a few materials to make this bear craft:


Cardboard


Brown twine


Peel and Stick Googly Eyes


Black crafting pom pom (We received ours from our friends at www.craftprojectideas.com


Glue Tacky crafting glue works well.  Another idea is glue dots.


Tape


This is such an easy bear craft.  It would be perfect for preschool aged kids or grade school children. To start, you’ll need to cut a bear face shape from the cardboard.

Bear craft that kids will love to make while working on fine motor skills.

Then, use the brown twine to wrap all around the cardboard face shape. Tape the twine to the back of the bear to keep it in place.

Fine motor tip: This activity is a great way to address bilateral coordination skills. Wrapping the twine around the cardboard shape allows kids to coordinate both hands together with a working hand and a non-dominant, assisting hand.  This type of activity requires a child to work at midline while looking down toward their hands.  It is a good activity for kids to seem to switch hands when writing or require prompts to hold the paper when writing and other tasks that utilize an assisting hand and precision work with the dominant hand.

Read here for more information on creative ways to address bilateral coordination

Help kids work on fine motor skills with a bear craft that is perfect for a Christmas ornament.

Continue to wrap the twine around the cardboard until most of the cardboard is not showing, including around the bear’s ears.


Add a small piece of tape to the back of the bear craft to hold the end of the twine down.


Next, stick the peel and stick googly eyes on the bear’s face.

Kids love to make crafts like this bear craft based on a popular childrens book.

Use a dab of glue or a glue dot to stick the crafting pom pom onto the bear craft.


Finally, use a small piece of twine on the back of the bear craft to create a loop in order to hang the bear craft Christmas ornament onto the Christmas tree.


While this bear craft was based on a popular children’s Christmas book, it would be a great accompaniment for any bear themed preschool book or children’s book.

Make this bear craft Christmas ornament based on Bear Stays Up for Christmas childrens book.

Looking for more Book themed Christmas ornaments?  

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These are the bloggers participating today in the 10 days of book themed Christmas ornaments:


Nativity Tree Decorations from Rainy Day Mum


Spice Jar Lid Star Ornaments from Fireflies and Mudpies


Dog Ornament from Books and Giggles


Pine Tree Ornament from Mom Inspired Life


You can find all of the Christmas ornaments in the 10 day series here.


Looking for more kid-created Christmas ornaments?  Here are some of our favorites:

Make this bottle caps holly craft using recycled bottle caps for a fun Christmas tree holly ornament, a gift topper, or a holiday wreath.  Little fingerprint Christmas tree ornament memento based on the book, little tree by e.e. cummings.  This kid-made Christmas ornament is a fine motor workout for intrinsic muscle strength, arch development, and finger isolation. Antlers ornament to go with the book Olive The Other Reindeer



Cutest ever bear craft Christmas ornament for kids.
Every Christmas tree needs this kid-made Christmas tree bear craft ornament!

Handwriting Resources

Handwriting can be a tough struggle to overcome.  You might work with a child on line awareness or spatial recognition but the child still neglects these areas. 

 
You might see letters that are formed poorly so that legibility is greatly impacted.
 
You might help a child on their written work and they seem to do well when one-on-one, but they simply can not carry the skills over into the classroom setting.
 
You might see struggles with letter and number reversals no matter how much you practice letter formation and perceptual skills.
 
All of these difficulties are challenges that YOU have mentioned to me.
 
Chances are, there are many, MANY more others who are facing the very same handwriting challenges with their child, student, or therapy client.
 
All of these concerns were voiced to me as a response to my Handwriting Help email series.  Did you get the free printables and 6 days of themed handwriting help?  Sign up here.
 
The thing is, every child struggles in different ways.  There are differences in attention, focus, sensory needs, fine motor skills, pencil grasp, visual processing, cognition, and many more factors. What works for one child may not work for another.
 
However, there are common techniques that can help children who face specific handwriting challenges.
 
To help work on these areas, I wanted to share with you some handwriting resources that can help.  These are activities and ideas that might be just the thing that clicks for your child.
 
These are workbooks, handwriting practice sheets, and creative strategies that can help kids who struggle with handwriting.  
Handwriting resources for parents, teachers, therapists, and professionals who work with children with handwriting legibility challenges and sloppy writing.
 

Handwriting Resources for Sloppy Handwriting

 
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 handwriting strategies resources
When Your Child Hates Handwriting provides handwriting instruction through 50+ fun and easy activities that can be incorporated into handwriting practice .  Appropriate for use with children from ages 3 to 12, this book offers a new approach to teaching the struggling child how to write.
 
Rewiring the Brain Handbook is a printable handwriting workbook that is designed for parents, teachers, therapists, and professionals as a guide for providing cognitive development, fine motor skills, and emotional grounding.  The exercises in the book are intended to support emotional stability, attention, reading, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and visual perception. The workbook contains 42 pages of exercises and activities with lines, shapes, letters, mazes, and fine motor games to enhance learning development.  
This Handwriting Bundle printable packet is designed to help with prewriting skills, letter formation and handwriting practice.  When you purchase all the titles together you receive a 30% discount.  
This handwriting bundle includes the titles below (click on each title for more information):
  1. Lines, Lines and More Lines ($3.99)
  2. Fading Lines and Shapes ($3.99)
  3. Fading Alphabet ($4.50)
  4. Handwriting Stations ($6.99)
  5. Animal Action Alphabet ($4.99)
  6. Visual Perceptual and Handwriting Practice Pages ($4.99)
  7. Handwriting Templates with Alphabet Guides ($4.99)
Regularly, these titles would be priced at $34.44 but when you purchase all 7 together you get a 30% discount sale price of $24.10!  This discount code was created specifically based on the interests of my readers (that’s you!)
 
 
This Visual Perception, Tangrams, & Handwriting Workbook activity workbook has information on all of the visual perceptual areas necessary for written work: 
  • Visual Spatial Relations
  • Visual Discrimination
  • Figure Ground
  • Form Constancy
  • Visual Memory
  • Eye-Hand Coordination
  • Sequential Memory
  • Visual Closure
The printable workbook shares creative puzzles, drawing activities, and building challenges that will work on all of the skills needed for improving line awareness, letter formation, and neatness in written work.  Read more about this Visual Perception workbook and ways to use the activities in a playful way.
 
The Handwriting Book is a digital book written by 10 pediatric Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists and addresses underlying components related to handwriting.  This book is FULL of creative ways to work on handwriting. 

 

MORE handwriting resources you will love:

 
Be sure to join the Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Help Facebook Group for daily handwriting tips, strategies, and practice techniques in an engaging community of parents, teachers, and therapists.
Handwriting resources for parents, teachers, therapists, and professionals who work with children with handwriting legibility challenges and sloppy writing.

The Most Creative Lacing Cards and Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor development is essential for so many tasks.  Kids begin their fine motor skills development as soon as they are placed in tummy time as an infant.  While the manipulation of small motor muscles in activities like lacing cards and handwriting doesn’t come until much later, the building blocks for success in tool manipulation and dexterity is established within days of birth.



Because fine motor skills are used in so many of our daily functions, it can be frustrating for kids (and their parents or teachers!) when manipulation and dexterity of the hands and fingers are a struggle.


Today, I’m sharing in inside scoop on how lacing cards boost fine motor skills and creative ways to further develop those skills through creation of DIY lacing cards, in unique process art ways!

Use lacing cards to address fine motor skills with kids in the classroom, home, or therapy clinic.

Lacing Cards and Fine Motor Skills



When kids thread a string through a lacing card, they are doing much more than establishing a baseline of sewing skills.  The motor movements required to perform this activity are powerful.  In fact, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that many Occupational Therapists use lacing cards as a power tool, i.e. a therapy treatment tool that addresses many common goal areas in kids.


Lacing cards and fine motor skills are great for building skills needed in tasks.

Let’s talk about the skills needed to manage and lace up a lacing card:


Bilateral Coordination-  In order to hold the lacing card and the string or ribbon, kids need to be able to manipulate and coordinate both hands together in a functional way.  They need to bring both hands to midline and work with one hand moving as a manipulating hand to move and thread the string.  The other hand, typically the non-dominant hand works as an assisting hand to hold the lacing card.  Both hands, wrists, and shoulders need to work together to position the card and string in a coordinated fashion.  


Read more about bilateral coordination activities.


Tripod grasp or Pincer grasp-  Depending on the size of the lacing card holes and the thickness of the string, different types of pinching grasps can be used with the dominant hand.  it is common for these grasps to vary during and throughout the task of lacing a single card.  One thing is consistent though and that is the fact that the fingers are working in a functional way that is beneficial for pencil grasp and manipulation of small items such as needles, beads, and clothing fasteners.  


Here is more information about a pincer grasp and activities to address this skill.


Separation of the two sides of the hand- When holding the string, it is useful for the ring and pinkie fingers to bend into a fist in order to stabilize the hand.  This positioning is effective for a functional grasp on the pencil when writing. In this way, lacing cards boost fine motor skills as a pre-writing tool. 


Check out these easy ideas to address motoric separation of the hand.


Visual Motor Skills- Coordinating visual information with motor movements of the hands is essential for handwriting, cutting with scissors, and many other tasks.  Manipulating lacing cards is an excellent way to address these needs. 


Read more about visual motor skills.


Motor Planning- A motor plan is functional execution of a task which is viewed with the eyes and carried out with the hands in order to complete tasks, such as mazes, walking around obstacles, cutting along a line, and writing within a space on a form.  Visual motor skills can be difficult for children with visual processing difficulties.  Identifying and organizing information is in a motor plan works on problem solving skills.  


Read more about motor planning activities for kids.



Process Art DIY Lacing Cards 

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While there are many lacing cards available on the market, it can be a lot of fun (and quite beneficial) to make your own lacing cards.  We had a blast making a big set of lacing cards recently, using inspiration from Barbara Rucci’s new book, Art Workshop for Children.  

We were lucky to receive a book to check out and WOW! What a resource for developing creativity and inspiration in kids.  I loved flipping through every page with my kids as we picked out project after project to complete.  

One of the art projects that stood out to me, is the watercolor lacing cards activity.  As an Occupational Therapist, I was drawn to the fine motor goldmine with this activity.

We were inspired by the watercolor lacing cards in the book and HAD to make our own.  Just like the extended activity ideas that are included with every art activity in Art Workshop for Children, I had to get my kids creating by making their own colorful and creative lacing cards.

So often you see printable lacing cards that are very cookie cutter.  There are so many on the market that are simple shapes and single colors or images.  These are fun and completely perfect for boosting the fine motor skills needed for functional tasks.


Use art supplies to make your own lacing cards and address fine motor skills.



However, when we saw the creative opportunity in Art Workshop for Children, we had to get busy with the fine motor development!

Creative DIY Lacing Cards and Fine Motor Skills

I set up our dining room table with a bunch of supplies:

Paper plates


I didn’t have to do much in the way of instruction with this creative activity.  My kids were drawn to the paints and paint brushes like kids to candy.  They got busy painting, dripping, splotting, and dumping.  It was fun to hear the comments about glitter and paint mixing and I laughed because it reminded me of the “Overheard” sidebar comments in the Art Workshops for Children book.


Glitter and watercolors are all you need for creative lacing cards and fine motor skills development in kids.
Use glitter glue to make creative lacing cards and fine motor skills development.

Just making the watercolors were a fine motor goldmine.  Squeezing glitter glue tubes, sprinkling glitter, and painting with paint brushes of all sizes worked those intrinsic muscles of the hands. 


Use watercolor cakes to paint lacing cards and address fine motor skills.



Kids can make lacing cards for fine motor skills.

One surprising way that we worked on fine motor skills was using old water color cakes.  I pulled the cakes right from the water color set and showed my kids how to dip them into water and then draw on the paper.  Pinching the wet and messy watercolor cake was a great sensory experience that promoted a tripod grasp.  This is a great way to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the hand and promote arch development needed for endurance in tasks such as coloring and writing.


Once our paintings were dry, my oldest daughter and I cut them into large shapes and used a hole punch to create lacing cards.  We used yarn to thread around the holes.  I showed my kids how to stitch the holes in two different ways, going up and down through the holes and also around the edge of the lacing card.  Both techniques great for addressing the fine motor skills described above.


Kids love to make their own lacing cards for addressing fine motor skills.
Lacing cards and fine motor skills go hand in hand with creative activities.

These gorgeous watercolor lacing cards are perfect for developing fine motor skills in kids and are great addition to any home, classroom, or therapy clinic…from start to finish!  We’ll save our lacing cards and use them again and again!




I am so excited to be on the Art Workshop for Children blogging team.  You can read more about the book here and read more about the creative activities in the book. 

Consider adding Art Workshop for Children to your holiday shopping list!  Pair the book with art supplies for a creative and unique gift idea that kids of all ages will love.  Teachers and therapists will find this book beneficial for the classroom or clinic, too. 

Grab the Art Workshop for Children book for creative art ideas.

Who do you know that would love a creating art gift like this?


Grab these supplies for the art-loving child, teacher, or therapist on your gift list this year:

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Lacing cards and fine motor skills are great for developing the strength in the hands for handwriting and pencil grasp.

Surprising DIY Pretend Toys from Bottle Caps

Today, I’m sharing a few fun DIY pretend toys made from bottle caps! These craft ideas that are irresistible for imagination, pretend play, and creative time.  In fact, make that super cute bottle cap crafts.  These are fun ways to inspire pretend play with toys using recycled materials from around the home to create toys, pretend play, and just plain old fun. I am trying to figure out which of the DIY pretend toys to make first!
Make DIY pretend toys from bottle caps!
Scroll around and check out some of these super cute crafts using bottle caps! I love that so many of these can be used in pretend play.  Get the kids involved in the creating process for DIY pretend play fun!

Make DIY pretend toys from bottle caps!

DIY Pretend Toys for Kids

Bottle Cap Rattle Snake Craft  from Moms and Crafters

Rudolf Ornament Craft from Red Ted Art

Bottle Cap Holly Craft from Sugar Aunts

Bird Puppet Craft from Messy Little Monster

Treasure Magnets from Hattifant

Bottle Cap Ornaments from Life Over Cs

Bottle Cap Snowflake from Zing Zing Tree

Bottle Cap Truck Craft from Swoodson Says


Polymer Clay Bottle Cap Pies from Adventures in a Box


DIY bottle cap toys would be fun for pretend play with kids.





Make DIY pretend toys from bottle caps!

Which of these DIY pretend toys from Bottle Caps do you want to make first?


Everything You Need for Your Minecraft Fan

My son is a Minecraft fan.  He is obsessed.  From playing the game, to pretending with action figures, to reading the books.  He is Minecraft obsessed in a big way.  Although this is a different sort of post than I usually share, I wanted to put together a gift guide that has everything Minecraft that you need for your obsessed child.  Use this list as a guide for gift ideas, stocking stuffers, and even pass it on to grandparents who are asking what to buy this holiday season.


And here is a tip: when that Minecraft loving kid HATES to practice handwriting, use his or her passions to spark a writing fire! 


I’ve got all of the Minecraft writing tools toward the bottom of this post, so scroll on down…but for now, here are  toys that will help improve pencil grasp.






Everything you need for your minecraft fan this holiday season. use these minecraft ideas for gifts.


Minecraft Gifts That Your Child Will Love

There are SO many Minecraft ideas that are out there.  From gift ideas to stocking stuffers, you can find them all here.

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These figures are perfect for building, setting up imaginative scenes and pretend play scenarios.  The great thing about Minecraft is that the mind is the limit when it comes to creating scenes.There are so many mini figures that can be used in pretend play scenarios. Use them to encourage storylines.  Then, kids can write down characters, plays, and actions of the figures.

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Use these blocks to create landscapes: 

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What to do with all of those mini figures? Grab a storage case. Use small Minecraft notepads to label the figures in the case.



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Looking for a few digital ideas? Ask kids to write labels on the games or instructions for play.




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Most parents are interested in getting the kids to read. For the Minecraft obsessed kid, a story about Steve may be just the material that creates a bookworm. Use the books to encourage writing.  Ask your child to write a story extension to the books. Here are some Minecraft books to try:




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If you are a lost Minecraft parent, here are some guide books that might help: 

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Everything you need for your minecraft fan this holiday season. use these minecraft ideas for gifts.



If you’ve got a child who HATES to write or practice handwriting, but LOVES Minecraft, then why not try to sneak some handwriting skills into their interest? Try these Minecraft themed handwriting activities: 

Use this paper to practice handwriting with a Minecraft theme:

Kids can use the journals to practice handwriting, using the toys in the ways described above. Encourage quality handwriting, but overall legibility over quality.  Minecraft is your child’s passion and you don’t want to make it a job to just play! 

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Minecraft handwriting activiites

Why Do Kids Slouch in Their Seats?

You see it every day in the classroom.  Kids slouched down at their desks, legs out in the aisles, head propped up on their hand, and maybe even falling right out of the chair.


Why do kids slouch so much in their seats?


There are many reasons for the slouched posture that you see when you glance up and down the rows of desks in any classroom: boredom, attention, distraction, or fatigue are probably the culprits.


But sometimes, there is an underlying reason behind the slouched posture that kids use day after day at school.


Sometimes there is a sensory reason.





Why do kids slouch in their seat? Sometimes, it's a sensory reason.






Posture, Sensory Processing, and the Classroom


When a child slouches in their seats in the classroom (or at home–You can definitely see this positioning at the dinner table, during homework, in a doctor’s waiting room, or even in church pews!) there can sometimes be a sensory reason behind the poor posture.
Why do kids slouch in their seats?


Now, it needs to be said that sensory issues are not always going to be the case with slouched posture.   Sensory processing and unmet sensory needs are just one reason that you might see slouched positions when kids sit for a period of time.  Some kids get into a comfortable position.  Sometime core weakness is an issue.  Sometimes it is just plain old boredom, fatigue, or attention.

When there are other sensory processing concerns, you can potentially see the connection between sensory processing and posture when sitting.  


Why do Kids Slouch in their Seats?  A Sensory Reason!

One possible reason for slouched posture is a relationship to unmet sensory needs.  Postural control deficits can potentially present due to poor processing of vestibular and/or proprioceptive information.

These kids may have trouble maintaining an upright posture over time.  They might seek out or avoid pressure from the desk or chair on the backs of their legs.  They might have a need for movement or a fear of falling from the chair if vestibular the vestibular sense is challenged. 


How to Help Kids Sit with Better Posture in the Classroom

There are a few sensory-based strategies that can help with posture:


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  • Movement seats like a disk cushion are great for allowing movement for improved attention.
  • Wobble Seat uses the idea of a therapy or stability ball in the form of a stool.  This is great for classroom use because the giant therapy balls tend to roll away from desks.
  • Allow kids to lay on the floor for some activities.  Yep, right in the classroom!  A towel draped on the floor or a yoga mat can be a softer surface for hard classroom floors.  Laying on the floor provides proprioceptive input and provides stability through the upper body and shoulder girdle.  Add a few bean bags chairs or pillows to the classroom for lounging and reading centers.  These can be just the movement and heavy work break that is needed (and CAN fit into the educational curriculum of the day) to allow for better posture when seated at a desk.
  • Try a slanted table surface.  There are a lot of slant boards on the market.  Or, you can make your own DIY version to save money. 
  • Take a quick check on desk and chair size.  The feet should touch the floor.  Add a cardboard box, taped phone books, or have the custodial department make a wooden base for feet under the desk.  Other options include a very slightly slanted surface.
What are your favorite ways to encourage better posture in the classroom or at home?
Sensory based reasons why kids slouch in their seats at school and at home.
Sensory based reasons why kids slouch in their seats at school and at home.

You may also be interested in the free printable packet, The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit.

The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit is a printable packet of resources and handouts that can be used by teachers, parents, and therapists. Whether you are looking for a handout to explain sensory strategies, or a tool for advocating for your child, the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit has got you covered.


And it’s free for you to print off and use again and again.


In the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit, you’ll find:


  • Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom
  • Adapted Seating Strategies for the Classroom
  • Self-Regulation in the Classroom
  • 105 Calm-down Strategies for the Classroom
  • Chewing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • 45 Organizing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards

Sensory Strategies for the Classroom

The Ultimate Guide to Independence with Clothing Fasteners

If you’ve been following the Functional Skills for Kids series this year, then you know the wealth of information that has been shared.  Each month, the team of OT and PT bloggers have broken down a functional task into it’s development, necessary components, and strategies for increasing independence.  This month brings buttons, snaps, buckles, and the ultimate guide to independence with clothing fasteners.  
 
Check out the links below to find everything you need to help kids with management of clothing fasteners with increased independence.  From pincer grasp to shoulder girdle stabilization and sensory processing to visual motor skills, children have a lot of precursors to master before they can independently put on their jacket or managing their clothing in the school bathroom.  


 
 
 

The Ultimate Guide to Independence with Clothing Fasteners

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Functional Skills for Kids series
 
 Functional Skills for Kids and a guide to independence with clothing fasteners.
 
 

Free Handwriting Tips and Tricks Printables

Handwriting is a struggle for many kids.  There are many handwriting tips  and  tips that can work for kids when they are completing written work.  The thing is that some strategies work for some children and something totally different is a success for other children.  Handwriting difficulties can be a result of many different issues.  From visual perceptual difficulties to pencil grasp concerns, to visual motor integration problems…handwriting is a complex task with many skills working together.  


Today, I have an exciting freebie for you.


I have compiled strategies, tips, and tricks for common handwriting concerns.  


You might have seen our easy handwriting series recently.  If not, be sure to stop over and check out 30 easy strategies for helping with handwriting difficulties.


For more information on helping kids with handwriting issues, join us in the Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Help Facebook group.  I would love to see you there!


Free Handwriting Tips and Tricks Printables



These free handwriting printables are perfect for trying different strategies to help kids with handwriting needs.  


Each printable page can be copied and presented to teachers, parents, colleagues, and any one in the classroom or therapy setting who works with the kids with handwriting needs.


Try using these printable strategies to help with many different handwriting concerns.


Handwriting Help in your Inbox


The printables will arrive in your inbox over a 6 day period.  Each day, I will share specific tips related to common handwriting challenges.  There will be lins to address these problems in creative ways and Quick Tips for the targeted handwriting issue and Fine Motor Development.  



This is Handwriting Help for anyone who works with kids!

handwriting tips, tricks, and strategies for kids



In the FREE printable pack, you will get:


Tips for Better Line Awareness


Tips for Better Spatial Awareness


Tips for Accurate Letter Formation


Movement Activities to Help with Spatial Relations


Handwriting Self-Assessment


Motivating Handwriting Activities


MORE Motivating Handwriting Activities




Related Read: Try these handwriting accommodation strategies to address a variety of handwriting challenges. 


Try these handwriting tricks, tips, and strategies to help with handwriting.
I hope you join us for 6 days of handwriting help, delivered right to your inbox!