Writing with a small pencil is a fine motor strengthening power tool. When kids use a small pencil to write (or small crayons to color), they are building the strength in their hands, allowing for increased endurance in writing and coloring tasks. The positioning of the hand on the pencil promotes a tripod grasp and encourages the motor planning needed for written work.
This post is part of my Easy Handwriting Tips series happening this month.
Be sure to join the new Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Help Facebook group for lots of great handwriting tips and tricks.
Writing with a Small Pencil
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Encouraging kids to write with a small pencil builds the strength of the intrinsic muscles of the hands. Using a very small pencil like the one in these pictures works the the lumbrical muscles. The lumbricals have a job to bend (flex) the MCP joints and extend (straiten) the PIP and DIP joints. When the lumbricals are in action, the hand might look like it is holding a plate with the big knuckles bent and the fingers extended. Holding the small pencil typically encourages this same position.
Use a slightly bigger pencil, like a golf pencil. Grab a bunch HERE. This size of pencil promotes a tripod grasp which can be carried over to a functional grasp in handwriting.
There is another great benefit of these small pencils: When making them by sharpening (and sharpening and sharpening!) use a handheld pencil sharpener. It is a great tool for encouraging bilateral hand coordination and strength to rotate the pencil within the hand. This is a form of in-hand manipulation and is needed for so many tasks.
Looking for more creative ways to work on handwriting? First, be sure to join the Sweet Ideas for Handwriting Tips Facebook Group. There will be a lot of resources and tips shared there.
Next, head over HERE to see all of the handwriting posts in this month’s series on easy quick fixes for handwriting. Save it because there will be a lot of great tricks and tips for handwriting coming!
Finally, check out these creative ways to help kids work on their written work: