This is a quick and easy way to build the skills needed for improving handwriting through more controlled pencil strokes. Pencil control is something we’ve covered in depth before. Kids can pick up a pencil and write quickly with scratchy letter formation or press too hard to form very dark letters.
We covered the best crayons for toddlers (and other ages) in a recent blog post that addresses the developmental benefits of various types of crayons. This can be a great starting point to help kids progress with underlying skills such as hand strength as well as the functional output; coloring, based on developmental levels and age.
They can miss lines and form letters in various sizes or write letters on top of one another. There are many (MANY) various reasons for each of these handwriting concerns. From inefficient fine motor strength, to visual perceptual difficulties, to proprioception needs…handwriting is a complex task!
Sometimes, the issue with poor handwriting is the child’s lack of pencil control. They might over-extend lines and need to improve precision in handwriting.
These easy crayon exercises are one way to work on pencil control. We’ve shared a similar activity recently using colored pencils and smaller circles that worked on precision of pencil movements. Today’s crayon exercises are just a little different and designed to build the motor movements of letter formation.
Pencil Control Exercises with Crayons
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For the first activity, simply draw 1/2 inch circles with various colors of crayons. Make the circles touch. Kids can draw an “x” inside the colors. I gave the instruction to keep the “x” inside the lines and use a different color than the color of the circle. This direction allows the child to slow down as they check the color and gives them a chance to become more aware of the lines of the circles.
We also used small pieces of crayons for this activity. Using small pieces of crayons is a great way to build the muscles needed for coloring and writing with controlled moments. I touched on the benefits of coloring a bit here.
Another quick pencil control exercise is coloring in 1/2 inch circles. For this exercise, ask your child to color the circles in specific ways. Show them how to color some circles with various crayon strokes. Coloring small areas with vertical crayon strokes, horizontal strokes, semi circle motions, diagonal lines, and circular crayon strokes mimics the lines of letter formation. Coloring the semi circles within the circle’s boundaries promotes the curved lines of letters like “c” and “a”. Be sure to show them how to start at the top for each circle and retrace their lines until most of the circle is filled in.
Here are a few more ideas that you can incorporate to improve pencil control. In the video below, we used colored pencils. Do these exercises with crayons, colored pencils, markers, chalk or anything!
Try this activity before a handwriting task to warm up the hands.
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