How to Draw an Owl Worksheet

how to draw an owl

Today, I have another fun free occupational therapy worksheet for you. This How to Draw an Owl activity is a directed drawing worksheet that can be used in owl activities in OT or in the classroom. Draw an owl with step by step directions to work on visual motor skills, direction following, pencil control, and more. This easy owl drawing activity uses basic shapes and pencil lines, so it’s a great owl drawing activity for kids!

how to draw an owl

How to Draw an Owl

Owl directed drawing activities like this one is a great way to help kids develop visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills. When kids follow the step-by-step directions on the drawing worksheet, they are developing several skill areas:

  • Visual perceptual skills (form constancy, visual discrimination, visual attention, visual closure, visual memory, sequential memory, visual spatial relations)
  • Pencil control
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Direction following
  • Working memory
  • Copying skills needed for handwriting

Directed drawing activities like this owl drawing easy directed drawing page are fun ways to help kids strengthen a variety of areas in a creative way!

Free how to draw an Owl (Easy) Worksheet

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I wanted to create a how to draw an owl EASY worksheet for younger kids starting out with pencil control, but also older students who need to work on skills outlined above. In this easy owl drawing, kids can use simple pencil lines to make the cartoon owl drawing.

This owl drawing easy activity uses simple pencil strokes and only 4 steps to complete the owl cartoon. Kids that are moving from simple drawing lines like circles and curved lines can benefit from the four simple steps to add details to the owl drawing.

Want to grab a copy of this free how to draw an owl EASY worksheet?

Just enter your email address into the form below. You can print off the directed drawing sheet and use this to work on copying skills.

FREE How to Draw an Owl (EASY) worksheet

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    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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Rainbow Pencil Control Exercises

    Pencil control exercises with colored pencils

    If you are looking for ways to work on handwriting legibility and pencil control, then you are in the right place. This Occupational Therapist loves to teach kids handwriting.  Neatness counts when it comes to writing on the lines and being able to read that homework assignment a few hours into the nightly after-school ritual.  Today, I’ve got one easy tip for helping kids to manage with pencil control in order to write on the lines at an age-appropriate speed. Add this pencil control activity to this list of pencil control exercises.

    Pencil control exercises with colored pencils
    This activity is perfect for kids from Kindergarten on up through school-aged.  Anyone who is writing with a pencil and trying to form letters on lines, copy written work, fill in worksheets, and take notes will love this handwriting exercise in pencil control.
     
    Try these pencil control handwriting exercises to work on writing in lines with the small muscles of the hands for more accuracy with lines, legibility, and speed when writing.
     
     


    Pencil Exercises

    This post contains affiliate links.
     
    Pencil exercises like this simple colored pencil activity are powerful ways to improve pencil control in handwriting.
     
    This activity is really, so simple.  There is nothing you need more than a pencil and paper.  We pulled out colored pencils to make our handwriting activity into a rainbow of color and to add a visual scanning component.

     

    Try these pencil control handwriting exercises to work on writing in lines with the small muscles of the hands for more accuracy with lines, legibility, and speed when writing.

     

    Rainbow Pencil Control Exercises

    With this activity, we’re working on keeping the pencil strokes within the lines of a small circle.  

    1. First, draw a bunch of circles in different colors on a piece of paper.  The circles should be 1/4 inch in diameter.  
    2. Ask your child to fill in the circle with the matching colored pencil. A red circle should be filled in with the red colored pencil.  

    The objective here is to fill in the whole circle without going over the lines.  Because the circle is so small, filling it in with the colored pencil requires very small muscle movements of the fingers.  

    A child who uses their wrist or forearm to write (such as a child using a grasp such as the thumb wrap grasp, for example, are over compensating for weakness and lack of endurance of the intrinsic musculature in the hand and utilizing a stabilizing grasp.  This rainbow pencil control exercise strengthens dexterity, including range of motion in the thumb IP joint. Read more about the thumb IP joint and handwriting in a previous post.

    This overcompensation does not allow fluid motions of the fingers when moving the pencil in handwriting.  Because the circles are so small, the child can focus more on using the small motor motions to fill in the color.

     
    Try these pencil control handwriting exercises to work on writing in lines with the small muscles of the hands for more accuracy with lines, legibility, and speed when writing.

     

     

    More Pencil Control Exercises


    Extend this activity to further your child’s fine motor skills and pencil control in handwriting:

    • Ask your child to draw an “X” in each circle, without going over the lines.
    • Ask your child to draw horizontal or vertical lines within each circle, much like we did here.
    • Create a color coding activity: Match one circle color up with another pencil color.  When you call out a color, your child can fill in that colored circle with a different, predetermined colored pencil.  This is a test of visual scanning and quick thinking.
    • Draw larger circles and show your child how to fill them in with strait pencil strokes.
    • Work on pencil control strokes using the pages in our Colors Handwriting Kit
    Pencil control exercises for kids using colored pencils

        This rainbow handwriting activity is part of the Rainbow Activities for Kids series.  Find more rainbow activities here:

    rainbow activities for kids

    FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:Rainbow in a Bag – No Mess Art // Powerful Mothering Rainbow Pasta Threading // Play and Learn
    Everyday Rainbow Tinker Tray // Still Playing School How to Flip a
    Rainbow | Simple Science for Kids
    // Lemon Lime Adventures Rainbow Sun Craft // Fairy Poppins Beginning Sound Rainbows // Playdough to Plato DIY Rainbow Crayon Names // Pre-K
    Pages Rainbow Bear Color Matching Game
    // Life Over Cs Rainbow
    Marble Painting Process Art
    // Preschool Inspirations DIY Paper Plate Loom: Rainbow Yarn Art // Sugar Spice and
    Glitter Rainbow Sight Words // The Kindergarten Connection Rainbow Math with a DIY Abacus // Fun-a-Day Simple Rainbow Sensory Bottle for Kids // Coffee Cups
    and Crayons Roll a Rainbow // The STEM Laboratory  

    Colored pencils exercises for improving pencil control in handwriting.

    Looking for more handwriting ideas?  Here are some of my favorites:

    Colors Handwriting Kit

    Rainbow Handwriting Kit– This resource pack includes handwriting sheets, write the room cards, color worksheets, visual motor activities, and so much more. The handwriting kit includes:

    • Write the Room, Color Names: Lowercase Letters
    • Write the Room, Color Names: Uppercase Letters
    • Write the Room, Color Names: Cursive Writing
    • Copy/Draw/Color/Cut Color Worksheets
    • Colors Roll & Write Page
    • Color Names Letter Size Puzzle Pages
    • Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages
    • Colors Pre-Writing Lines Pencil Control Mazes
    • This handwriting kit now includes a bonus pack of pencil control worksheets, 1-10 fine motor clip cards, visual discrimination maze for directionality, handwriting sheets, and working memory/direction following sheet! Valued at $5, this bonus kit triples the goal areas you can work on in each therapy session or home program.

    Click here to get your copy of the Colors Handwriting Kit.

    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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

    The Many Benefits of Coloring with Crayons

    Fine motor skills with coloring

    There are many benefits of coloring with crayons in occupational therapy interventions. Coloring with crayons is a fine motor skill that builds other skills. Did you know that the act of coloring with a crayon can help children develop fine motor strength, dexterity, grasp, and endurance in their hands? And, coloring skills develop by more coloring. Here’s the thing: occupational therapists use crayons to help children develop fine motor skills, but they also work on the development of coloring skills as a functional task that is part of play, and typical child development. Let’s talk about all of the coloring skills that occupational therapy addresses with a simple box of crayons.

    Benefits of coloring in child development

    You know that smell, right? It’s kind of waxy and flaky (if that’s a smell…) and so distinctive! If you open a box of crayons that have the little marks of each crayon inside the cardboard box, it has an even stronger smell.  Crayons smell like childhood! This post on coloring skills is part of my 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series, where each day is a creative activity using OT treatment materials that are free or almost free.  

    Fine Motor Skills with Crayons

    Crayons are something that most homes have in a pencil box, in an old tin, or in a drawer somewhere.  Did you know those childhood memory sticks (aka Crayons) can be used in SO many skill areas?  

    Consider fine and gross motor strength, tool use, sensory processing, pencil grasp, line awareness, hand-eye coordination, dexterity, endurance, self-confidence, creativity, task completion, and learning objectives like color identification, and color matching.  Crayons develop the very skills needed for pencil grasp and carryover of that pencil grasp. Whew!  No wonder crayons get worn down to nubs with all of those areas that they are working on!  



    Coloring is a fine motor skill and it helps kids develop other areas.

    Benefits of Coloring for Children

    There are so many developmental benefits to coloring! It’s more than creating a colorful preschool work of art.

    Related Read: Read about how we worked on carryover of pencil grasp and strengthened fine motor skills and so many other areas with our 3 Crayon Challenge activity.

    There are so many benefits to coloring for kids: hand strength, visual motor skills, visual perception, tool use, creativity, endurance, creativity, self-confidence, task completion, and learning objectives!  Tips from an Occupational Therapist for working on coloring and handwriting in school and at home.

    Coloring with crayons Improves Tool Use


    Coloring with crayons improves a child’s ability to manipulate tools such as pencils, scissors, utensils, grooming and hygiene tools, and other functional tools with ease. By developing coloring skills, kids have a natural opportunity to explore a writing utensil in a way that is fun and creative.  

    They can use different colors by placing crayons back into the box with a coordinated manner.  To further develop tool use with children, offer a crayon pencil sharpener, a small bin or zippered pouch that needs opening or closing, and a variety of crayon sizes and shapes. All of these can extend fine motor skills with more practice in tool use as well as dexterity.

    Coloring with Crayons improves Bilateral Coordination

    Bilateral Coordination is a fine motor skill needed for so many tasks. Using both hands together in a coordinated manner is a skill needed for handwriting, scissor use, and many functional tasks.  When coloring, a child needs to hold the paper as they color.  Using the assisting, non-dominant hand as a stabilizer allows a child to build strength and dexterity in their dominant hand.  This skill will carry over to writing tasks, and makes coloring a great activity for kids who are switching hands in activities.

    Coloring with Crayons Improves Endurance


    Building on the fine motor skill areas, coloring can deepen a child’s endurance in completing writing tasks.  

    Many times, kids will complain of hand fatigue while coloring.  They can build muscle endurance by coloring with the small muscles of their hands and allow for greater endurance when writing, too. To help a child develop hand strength, use coloring!

    You can help kids improve hand strength with this simple coloring exercise: Instruct a child how to color in small circles to work on the strength and endurance of the intrinsic muscles.  Ask them to fill in the complete circle. To extend the activity, create more circles. This exercise can be extended further by working on a vertical surface such as an easel or by taping the page to a wall. This develops proximal stability at the shoulder girdle as well as core strength, allowing for postural stability in written work.

    If a child needs to work on this area, you can show the student how to color on a slanted surface like a slanted table surface or elevated surface. Here is an easy way to create a DIY slant board.

    Broken Crayons help with hand strength! 

    Fine motor skills with coloring

    Coloring develops Tripod Grasp


    Coloring is a fine motor strengthening tool that many Occupational Therapists recommend and use in treatment sessions.  Coloring is a resistive task that provides the small muscles in the hand to work the waxy crayon onto coloring sheets.  When a child holds a crayon, they are working on the strength of the intrinsic muscles of the hand.  

    Using broken crayons requires more work and is a greater strengthening task for kids who need to work on their tripod grasp. For more strengthening, encourage your child to color more resistive surfaces such as construction paper, cardboard, or even sand paper. 


    Coloring offers sensory input


    Coloring with a crayon can be an opportunity to add heavy work through the hands. This sensory feedback is proprioceptive input that “wakes up” the muscles of the hands and can be calming input.

    Unlike a marker, children can color lightly or very dark by exerting more pressure.  The proprioceptive system comes into play when a child attempts to vary the amount of pressure they are exerting through the crayon.

    Coloring with markers just doesn’t provide that resistive feedback that coloring with a waxy crayon does. Markers are smooth and don’t give kids the sensory input that help with learning letters.  For a fun twist on letter formation activities, grab a box of crayons!  

    To help kids write with heavier or lighter pencil pressure when writing, encourage children to shade and combine colors by being aware of how lightly or darkly they are coloring.  There is also that crayon scent that children are aware of, either consciously or unconsciously.  If you recall the scent of crayons from your childhood, then you know what I’m talking about here!

    Coloring Skills Develop Spatial Awareness


    Coloring skill development progresses as children gain experience in coloring. By developing coloring skills, kids can improve visual perceptual skills. Spatial awareness is an aspect of perceptual skills.

    Visual perception is so important to many functional skills in handwriting: awareness of the body’s position as it moves through space, line awareness, using margins on a page, and writing within a given space.  Coloring is a great tool in working on these areas as children color within lines and given spaces.  

    But sometimes, kids have trouble staying in the lines or coloring in areas without leaving large spaces uncolored.  Verbal prompts, highlighted lines, bold lines, thick coloring lines, and physical prompts like raised lines can improve spatial awareness in coloring.

    There are so many benefits to coloring for kids: hand strength, visual motor skills, visual perception, tool use, creativity, endurance, creativity, self-confidence, task completion, and learning objectives!  Tips from an Occupational Therapist for working on coloring and handwriting in school and at home.

    Coloring Skills and Eye Hand Coordination

    One reason that coloring in occupational therapy sessions is so well-used as an intervention strategy is the development of eye-hand coordination skills. There are benefits of coloring with crayons when it comes to coordinating vision and motor skills. When writing or coloring, children must coordinate their physical movements with information received from their visual system.  

    Controlled movements are essential for handwriting, letter formation, and neatness in handwriting.  Coloring helps with practicing coordination of the visual input with physical movements of the hands in very small spaces or large areas.

    Providing smaller areas of coloring require more controlled movements and dexterity.  For difficulties in this area, consider adding boundaries to coloring areas, with darkened and thicker lines or raised boundaries like using Wikki Stix around the coloring area.

    Coloring Benefits Creativity and Self-Confidence


    Another of the benefits of coloring with crayons involves self-confidence. Coloring inspires creativity in kids.  A blank piece of paper and a box of crayons can inspire stories and pictures.  Being creative allows a child to build their self-confidence in other areas, especially handwriting and pencil tasks. If you’ve ever received a coloring masterpiece from a child, then you know the pure delight they have when giving a creation they have made.  That boost of self-confidence will entice them to complete other paper/pencil tasks.

    Coloring helps with Color Identification and Color Matching


    Crayons are color!  Kids can be encouraged to practice color identification with the bright and vivid colors in a crayon box.  Use a color by number activity to work on color matching skills.

    These visual discrimination skills, visual scanning, visual attention, and visual memory needed to identify and match colors are part of the visual perceptual skills we talked about above. All of these are needed skills for reading, writing, math, and other higher level cognitive skills.

    Coloring with crayons in occupational therapy helps kids develop fine motor skills

    Coloring in occupational therapy teletherapy

    All you need to develop the skills listed above is a simple box of crayons. This makes coloring a powerful tool in occupational therapy teletherapy, because many homes have crayons available.

    Working on fine motor skills in teletherapy can be difficult because so many of an occupational therapist’s favorite fine motor tools might not be available. This is where using crayons to work on a variety of skills can be so powerful.

    Try some of these teletherapy activities using crayons:

    So, now you know the many benefits of coloring with crayons.  How can you use crayons in developmental and functional tasks?  Let’s explore crayons for various ages and stages.

    Toys and tools for kids who love to color and ways to incorporate coloring into kids daily lives to work on so many functional skills like fine motor, grasp, visual perceptual.

    Toys for Coloring Skills

    Here are some creative learning and play ideas that kids will love.  Some of these are more pricey than just a box of crayons, but your crayon fan will enjoy using these toys and games and won’t even realize they are working on so many skills!

    (We’re including affiliate links.)   One of our favorite books is The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Dewalt. This is a book for crayon fans! We grab this book from the library anytime we see it, and it’s got a great message, too. Kids will be inspired to color after reading this book about crayons. 

     It’s no secret that crayons are a fine motor powerhouse when it comes to developing that tripod grasp! You can use larger crayons for smaller kids or children who need to work on other grasps, like a lateral key grasp, or children who need to work on thumb adduction in functional tasks like scissoring. These ALEX Jr. Tots First Crayons are just the thing to try! 

     Work on more fine motor skills, like finger isolation when using Finger Crayons.

    Kids can get creative and explore sensory play while using crayons in the bathtub. 


     These Bath Time Crayons are on my list to try!

    Do you remember rubbing crayons over fashion design kits as a kid? There is a reason to do this play activity with kids! 


    This Fashion Design Activity Kit provides proprioceptive input and strength to little hands in a fun and creative way. 


     With 152 colors, this Crayola Ultimate Crayon Case will give your kiddo a color for every creative whim. This looks so inviting! 


     There is a coloring book out there for everyone! Even adults can get in on the coloring fun with creative coloring like this Art Nouveau Animal Designs Coloring Book . Color alongside your child for calming and relaxing art time. 


     I love the large size and big pictures of the Melissa & Doug Jumbo Coloring Pads. They are perfect for the youngest colorers. 


    For more creative fun, try Dry Erase Crayons right on a dry erase surface. This is a great way to practice spelling words on a resistive surface. 


    Little artists will love to create their own t-shirt designs using Fabric Crayons
    . This is a fun way to work on fine motor strength and bilateral coordination. Holding down that cotton t-shirt is a bilateral coordination workout!

    There are so many benefits to coloring for kids: hand strength, visual motor skills, visual perception, tool use, creativity, endurance, creativity, self-confidence, task completion, and learning objectives!  Tips from an Occupational Therapist for working on coloring and handwriting in school and at home.

    Colors Handwriting Kit

    Working on handwriting skills in occupational therapy sessions?

    Need to help your child with handwriting legibility, letter formation, spacing, and sizing in written work?

    Working on handwriting in the classroom and need a fun colors of the rainbow theme for motivating handwriting tasks?

    The Colors Handwriting Kit has you covered!

    In the 60 page printable kit, you’ll find handwriting worksheets, fine motor activity pages for A-Z, colors “write the room” cards for uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and cursive letters. This kit has evertyhing you need for helpiing kindergarten-2nd grade students with handwriting skills.

    Click here to access the Colors Handwriting Kit.

    Colors Handwriting Kit
    Colors Handwriting Kit for working on handwriting with a colors theme.

    More Crayon activities

    Metallic Crayon Dough

    Shades of red crayon play dough 

    Harold and the Purple Crayon play dough 

    Rainbow Crayon Play Dough

    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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Pencil Grasp Activities with Fine Motor Play

    Pencil grasp activities for kids

    Helping kids with pencil grasp can be a complicated matter. Kids can hold the pencil too tightly or with an immature grasp no matter how many pencil grips you try. But, there is hope. These pencil grasp activities are fun ways to improve pencil grasp with fine motor play. By using play activities to help kids build a better pencil grasp, kids develop a grasp that is strong and dexterous in ways that carryover to holding a pencil. Try these tripod grasp activities to help kids with pencil grasp development. This is something that therapists want parents to know about pencil grasp development…that a functional pencil grasp might not look like a traditional tripod grasp…and that there are fun ways to work on grasp development!

    Pencil grasp activities for kids

    I love to share easy tricks to work on things like fine motor skills. Working on pencil grasp and the fine motor skills needed for handwriting are two of my favorite ways to build functional skills as an Occupational Therapist.  This blog post is a round up of some of the best pencil grasp activities and ways to develop a more functional pencil grasp through fine motor play activities.  I’ve updated this resource to include more recent pencil grip occupational therapy ideas and grasp activities that I’ve shared. 

    A functional pencil grasp might not “look like” the traditional tripod grasp.

    Want to know how to fix a problem with pencil grasps? Need help knowing where to start when it comes to immature pencil grasps or a child hating to write because their hand hurts? The Pencil Grasp Challenge in open for you! In this free, 5 day email series, you’ll gain information, resources, specific activities designed to promote a functional, efficient pencil grasp.

    Click here to join the Pencil Grasp Challenge.

    Pencil grasp challenge to help kids improve their pencil grasp.
    Pencil grip activities kids will love for playing while working on pencil grasp perfect for occupational therapy activities.

    Improve Pencil Grasp with Fine Motor Play Ideas

    First, if you’ve go questions about pencil grasp, check out this resource on building fine motor skills through play.  You will find TONS of info about the fine motor “parts” of a functional grasp.  

    Try these awesome activities to improve pencil grasp through play and fine motor development.

    Fine Motor Play Activities to Improve Pencil Grasp

    We love incorporating fine motor activities into our play.  These posts are some of our favorites from the past year, and as a bonus, will help with the development of the small muscles of the hands.  An efficient grip on the pencil uses a tripod grasp (thumb, index, and middle fingers) with an open space between the thumb and index finger.    This grasp on the pencil allows kids to better form letters correctly and in a given small space using the fingers to make the pencil movements, vs. using the wrist or whole arm.  If your child is struggling with their handwriting, look first at their grasp on the pencil and go from there.  Try one of these activities for improved muscle strength and pencil control.  

    If you are interested in improving pencil grasp, and wondering about all of the fine motor skills that impact a functional pencil grasp, you will definitely want to join the pencil grasp challenge. This free 5 day email series explains everything you want to know about pencil grasp activities that have a powerful impact. Click here to join the Pencil Grasp Challenge. 

    Pencil activities to help kids write with a functional grasp
    Fine motor play idea that promotes pencil grasp with beads and play dough

    Pencil Grasp Exercises with Play Dough is fun with these mini fluted flower beads.  They build a flexed thumb IP joint which is needed for an efficient pencil grasp. 

    Fine motor play activity using tweezers made from craft sticks

    These Craft Stick Tweezers build muscle strength, an open web space, and tripod grasp.

    creative ways to build and work on a functional pencil grasp

    Help kids with fine motor skills using small balls of play dough.
    Use clay to work on fine motor skills
    Improve hand dominance using fine motor activities.

    Finger Isolation with Play Dough helps with minute movements of the hands and individual finger movements in managing the pencil. 

    Clay Exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the hand for increased endurance of pencil grasp.

    Motoric Separation of the Hand is essential for managing the pencil while utilizing the ulnar, stability side of the hand.

    pencil grip occupational therapy ideas for fine motor skills and pencil grasp
    Kids can work on fine motor skills by playing with masking tape on a table surface.
    Work on fine motor skills by playing with waterbeads
    Fine motor play using tissue paper
    Make DIY lacing cards to help kids with fine motor skills.

    Fine Motor Play with Tissue Paper is a great way to build intrinsic muscle strength. Strength in the intrinsic muscles ensure a functional tripod grasp.   In-Hand Manipulation: Two Activities In hand manipulation is necessary during pencil grasp to manipulate and advance the pencil while writing, as well as making adjustments with the pencil while erasing.   Fine Motor Table-Top Play addresses intrinsic muscle strengthening.   DIY Lacing Cards improves bilateral coordination, needed for holding the paper while writing.  

    Use pipe cleaners to work on fine motor skills.
    Use clothespins to work on hand strength.
    Make your own pencil control worksheets.

    Pipe Cleaner Fun builds tripod grasp for use with handwriting.   Fine Motor Strengthening Color Match works on increasing the intrinsic muscle strength of the hands.   Pencil Control Worksheets You Can Make at Home These worksheets build pencil control, line awareness, and spatial awareness during handwriting.  

    Use dry pasta to work on fine motor dexterity
    Play with coins to improve fine motor dexterity.
    Tracing letters with sidewalk chalk improves hand strength.

    Learning With Dyed Pasta provides a fun activity for building eye hand coordination.   Manipulating Coins for Fine Motor Development is a great way to work on in-hand manipulation needed for manipulating the pencil during handwriting.   Rainbow Writing provides a resistive writing surface, providing proprioceptive feedback and a way to work on motor planning in letter formation, as well as tripod grasp on the pencil.    

    Use Wikki Stix to build hand strenth
    Use pipe cleaners and a plastic bottle to work on tripod grasp.

    Tripod Grasp with Wikki Stix Pushing the wikki stix into the container works on tripod grasp and intrinsic muscle strength, as well as bilateral coordination.   Using Pipe Cleaners in Fine Motor Play also improves intrinsic muscle strength and bilateral coordination with a brightly colored stick.  Using the plastic bottle provides great auditory feedback.  

    Creative ways to work on pencil grasp

    Pencil grasp Activities

    Here are more ways to work on pencil grasp using fun activities:

    Pegboards
    Tweezer activities

    Clothes pin games

    Lacing beads
    Play Dough (Here’s a GREAT play dough recipe using old crayons.) 

    Pop bubble wrap

    Play with play dough or silly putty

    Use spray bottles to water plants

    Play hand games like “where is thumbkin”

    Color with very small pieces of broken crayons
    Draw or doodle with a small pencil

    Crumble paper

    Playing cards

    Sign language

    Shadow puppets

    Creative ways to work on pencil grasp
    Teaching pencil grasp? Use these fun fine motor activities to improve pencil grasp through play.

    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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Pencil Pressure When Writing

    If you’ve worked with kids teaching handwriting or fixing handwriting issues, they you probably have come across a common handwriting problem area…Pencil pressure when writing. They may press so hard on the pencil that the pencil tears the paper when they write. When they try to erase, there are smudges that never really go away. Or, you might see pencil pressure that is so light that you can’t discern letters from one another. Either way, pencil pressure plays a big part in handwriting legibility. Here are tips for pressing too hard when writing…and tips for helping kids write darker. Scroll down for everything you need to know about writing with that “just write” pencil pressure…Typo intended  🙂

    These writing tips are great for kids that press too hard when writing or write too lightly.

     

    Pencil Pressure with Writing

    Learning to write is a complex task.  Choosing a hand to hold the pencil with, pencil grasp, managing the paper with the assisting hand, sitting up straight..and then there is the physical task of marking letters: letter formation, line awareness, letter size… this is multi-level functioning for a child!  Yet another aspect to consider is the pressure one exerts on the paper when writing.  Press too lightly and the words are barely able to be seen.  Press too hard, and the letters are very dark, the pencil point breaks, lines are smudged, and when mistakes are erased, they don’t really erase all the way, the paper tears, and frustration ensues!  

    Sometimes, when it comes to pencil pressure, simply helping kids become aware that they are writing too lightly or writing with too much pressure can make a big difference. Here is one simple activity to work on pencil pressure. All you need is a sheet of foam crafting paper. 

    Pencil pressure is dependent on proprioception, one of the sensory systems.  With October being Sensory Processing Awareness month, this is the perfect time to talk sensory and handwriting!
     
    As an occupational therapist in the school setting, I’ve come across many school-aged children showing difficulty with pencil pressure.  There are reasons for these dark pencil marks and some tips and tools for helping with this handwriting difficulty. 

     

     
    Tips and tools for kids who write with too much pressure in handwriting.  Does your child write or color so hard that the pencil breaks?  Writing too hard makes handwriting difficult to read and effectively write.
     

     

     
    This post contains affiliate links.  

     

    Proprioception and Handwriting


    The proprioceptive system receives input from the muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement and changes in position in space.  Our bodies are able to grade and coordinate movements based on the way muscles move, stretch, and contract. Proprioception allows us to apply more or less pressure and force in a task. Instinctively, we know that lifting a feather requires very little pressure and effort, while moving a large backpack requires more work.  We are able to coordinate our movements effectively to manage our day’s activities with the proprioceptive system.  The brain also must coordinate input about gravity, movement, and balance involving the vestibular system.



    When we write, the pencil is held with the index finger, middle finger, and thumb, and supported by the ring and pinkie finger as the hand moves across a page.  A functioning proprioceptive system allows us to move the small muscles of the hand to move the pencil in fluid movements and with “just right” pressure.  We are able to mark lines on the paper, erase mistakes, move the paper with our supporting arm, turn pages in a notebook fluidly, and keep the paper in one piece.

    Writing Pressure: Too Dark


    Sometimes, children hold their pencil very tightly.  They press so hard on the paper, that lines are very dark when writing.  The pencil point breaks.  When erasing, the pencil marks don’t completely erase, and the paper is torn.  The non-dominant, assisting hand moves the paper so roughly that the paper crumbles.  When turning pages in a notebook, the pages tear or crumble.  Movements are not fluid or efficient.  Handwriting takes so much effort, that the child becomes fatigued, frustrated, and sore.  It may take so much effort to write a single word, that handwriting is slow and difficult.  It’s messy. It’s not functional handwriting. 

    Writing Pressure: Too Light

    Another form of handwriting that is just not functional is when pencil pressure is just too light. Kids may write so lightly that you can’t read the overall writing sample. Other times, you can’t discern between certain letters. Still other times, the writing pressure is just so light that the child’s hand or sleeve smudges the pencil lines and the writing sample is totally not functional or legible. Other times, kids start out writing at a legible pencil pressure, but with hand fatigue, the writing gets lighter and lighter. Working on proprioceptive input and hand strengthening can help with too light pencil pressure. Try some of the writing tips listed below.

    Pencil pressure and Messy handwriting

    Messy handwriting can be contributed to many factors.  Decreased hand strength, Visual motor difficulty, motor planning issues, visual memory difficulties, or impaired proprioception. 
     
    Difficulty with grading the movements required in drawing or making letters in a coordinated way may present as messy, smudged, illegible handwriting.
     

    Writing Tips for Pencil Pressure

    Proprioceptive activities allow the muscles to “wake up” with heavy pressure. Moving against resistance by pushing or pulling gives the muscles and joints an opportunity to modulate pressure.  Resistive activities before and during a handwriting task can be beneficial for children who press hard on the pencil. 

     

    Pencil Pressure Activities:

    Some of these pencil pressure activities are writing strategies to help kids become more aware of the amount of pressure they are using when writing. Others are tools for helping the hands with sensory needs. Still others are tools for strengthening the hands. Try some or a mixture of the following ideas to addressing handwriting needs.

    • Stress balls or fidget toys can help to strengthen pinch and grip strength. 
    • Use carbon paper or transfer paper to help kids become more aware of the amount of pressure they are exerting through the pencil when writing. Here is some easy ways to use a Dollar Store find to use carbon paper to work on handwriting
    • theraputty with graded amount of resistance (speak to a license occupational therapist about the amount of resistance needed for your child. An individual evaluation and recommendations will be needed for your child’s specific strengths/needs). 
    • Gross grasp activities- These activities can be a big help in adjusting the grasp on the pencil, helping the hands with sensory input and strengthening the hands to help with endurance when writing. 
    • Some children will benefit from using a liquid gel pen for fluid handwriting marks. The gel ink will provide feedback when gobs of ink are dispensed when writing too hard.
    • Still others will benefit from a gel pen, marker, or using a dry erase marker on a dry erase board. This can be beneficial as a tool for teaching about pencil pressure or as an accommodation for those writing too lightly.
    • Practice letter formation and pencil pressure by lacing a sheet of paper over a foam computer mouse pad. If pressing too hard, the pencil point will poke through the paper. 
    • A vibrating pen provides sensory feedback to the fingers and hand and helps to keep children focused on the task. 
    • Practice handwriting by placing a sheet of paper over a piece of sandpaper. The resistance of the sandpaper is great heavy work for small muscles of the hand. 
    • Practice Ghost Writing: Encourage the child to write very lightly on paper and then erase the words without leaving any marks. The adult can try to read the words after they’ve been erased. If the words are not able to be read, the writer wins the game. 
    • Hand exercises are a great way to “wake up” the hands before a handwriting task. Encourage the child to squeeze their hand into a fist as tight as he can. Then relax and stretch the hand and fingers. Repeat the exercise several times. Practice holding the pencil with the same type of tight and relaxed exercises Practice writing on tissue paper. A very light hand is needed to prevent tears. Discuss the amount of pressure needed for writing on the tissue paper. 
    • This will provide the child with awareness and words for the way they are holding the pencil. 
    • Wrap a bit of play dough or putty around the pencil as a grip. Encourage the child to hold the pencil with a grasp that does not press deeply into the dough. Encourage using a “just right” pressure. 
    • Provide terms for they way they write. Encourage “just right” writing and not “too hard” or “too soft” marks. 
    • Use a lead pencil to color in a small picture, using light gray, medium gray, and dark gray. Talk about how using different amounts of pressure changes the shade of gray. 
    • Instead of writing on a notebook, pull a single sheet from the pages and place on a hard table or desk surface. The firm surface will limit the amount of pressure. You can also slip a clipboard between pages of a notebook to provide that hard surface, if sheets must remain in a notebook.
     
    Help kids with pencil pressure and handwriting problems with these writing tips to work on heavy pencil pressure or writing too light.

    Need more tips and tools for addressing handwriting needs? Be sure to check out all of our handwriting activities here on The OT Toolbox.

    ClothesPin Pencil Grip

    Pencil grip

    Pencil grips! It can be hard to find the perfect pencil grip. And then, once you find one that works just right, that perfect pencil grip gets lost in the expanse of a backpack or a messy desk. Today, I’ve got a pencil grasp hack for you. This clothespin pencil grip will help kids write with a better pencil grasp, and it’s an inexpensive way to offer cues to position fingers on the pencil correctly.

    ClothesPin Pencil Grip

    Pencil grasp is a tricky thing! You can remind kids over and over, try all of the pencil grasp tricks and tips, but if a child struggles with fine motor skills, they revert right back to the inefficient and non functional pencil grasp. This is especially true in handwriting problems when kids are rushing to write or holding their pencil inefficiently, and legibility suffers. The easy pencil grasp trick described below is one that provides a frugal option for ensuring a functional pencil grasp and one that plays into the dexterity needed for letter formation and handwriting. Looking for more information on pencil grasp and fun ways to work on pencil grip?  Try these activities designed to boost pencil grasp in creative ways.     

    Kids can hold a clothespin clipped onto a pencil to help with pencil grasp and fine motor skills needed for improving handwriting and pencil grasp with this easy pencil grasp trick.

      One of the skills kids need for handwriting is pencil grasp. 

    Easy Pencil Grasp Trick…that costs pennies

    For this pencil grasp trick, you’ll need to understand why it works.    The issue with many kids who hold a pencil with an inefficient grasp is the dexterity and limited motion that results. They are holding the pencil with their fingers wrapped in such a way that they can’t hold a pencil with dexterity. They lack pencil control needed for efficient handwriting speed. Letter formation suffers and legibility lacks. When a child moves ahead in grade level or age and are required to write more quickly, they can’t keep up with written work requirements and legibility suffers. They then can’t read their class notes, handwritten work, homework lists, etc.    Try these pencil control exercises for more fun ways to work on dexterity and pencil movement in letter formation.  

    So why does this clothespin pencil grasp trick work?!

    For the child who can’t maintain a proper pencil grasp because of inefficient separation of the sides of the hand, this easy pencil grasp trick can be just the way to ensure the stability side of the hand is separated motorically from the precision side of the hand. Read more about motoric separation of the sides of the hand and what that looks like in fine motor work (such as holding and writing with a pencil).  

    When kids hold the pencil with the clothespin “bar”, it provides a physical prompt that allows them to flex or close their pinkie finger and ring finger around the support of the clothespin. This allows the stability side of the hand, or the ulnar side, to provide support in writing.  

    The radial side of the hand, or the precision side, is then able to work independently of the other two fingers. This means the middle finger, ring finger, and thumb are free to manually move the pencil with precision. The precision side which primarily consist of the thumb and pointer finger movements in a tripod grasp can move the pencil with control and dexterity as the middle finger supports the pencil.   

    For the modified tripod grasp, the middle finger can be a helper digit where it is positioned on the pencil shaft and a worker in moving the pencil with control.   

    Both the tripod grasp and the modified tripod grasp are efficient pencil grasps. The primary concern is that the ulnar side is separate and supportive, allowing for endurance and dexterity in written work.   

    Here is a fine motor activity that can be used to build and develop the separation of the sides of the hand.

    Working on pencil grasp in handwriting? Why not start a handwriting club for kids? Kids can work on handwriting skills in a fun way. Here’s how to start a handwriting club kids will WANT to join!

    Clip a clothespin onto a pencil to help kids with pencil grasp as a physical cue for better grip on the pencil when writing.

    Clothespin Pencil Grip

    Affiliate links are included below.  

    For this pencil grip trick, you’ll need just a single clothespin. The clothes pin can be the standard wooden variety or a colorful plastic type. Why not make it a project and decorate the clothespins as a group to add a bit of fine motor play?

    Check out these fun clothespins we decorated and used as a spacing tool to teach spacing between words when writing.   

    Some great clothes pins can be found here:  Wooden clothespin, perfect for decorating and customizing Plastic, colored clothes pin (A great price for 100 plastic clothespins!)

    Natural colorful wooden clothespins

    Pink and blue decorated clothespins  

    I can’t think of a student that would like to make this writing tool their own with some glitter paint, fun washi tape, adhesive gems, or stickers.    

    Try this pencil grasp trick that uses a clothespin to help kids with pencil grasp for better handwriting.

    More pencil grip tricks:

    Pencil Grip idea
    Simple pencil grasp trick
    Opposition pencil grasp trick

    Join the pencil grasp challenge!

    Need to know about the skills that make up a functional pencil grasp? The Pencil Grasp Challenge is open! In this free challenge, you’ll learn what’s going on behind the inefficient and just plain terrible pencil grasps you see everyday in the classroom, clinic, or home. Along with loads of information, you’ll gain quick, daily activities that you can do today with a kiddo you know and love. These are easy activities that use items you probably already have in your home right now.

    Besides learning and gaining a handful (pun intended) of fun ideas to make quick wins in pencil grasp work, you’ll gain:

    • 5 days of information related to pencil grasp, so you know how to help kids fix an immature pencil grasp.
    • Specific activities designed to build a functional pencil grasp.
    • Free printable handouts that you can use to share with your team or with a parent/fellow teachers.
    • You’ll get access to printable challenge sheets, and a few other fun surprises.
    • And, possibly the best of all, you’ll get access to a secret challengers Facebook group, where you can share wins, chat about all things pencil grasp, and join a community of other therapists, parents and teachers working on pencil grasp issues.

    Click here to join the Pencil Grasp Challenge.

    free pencil grasp challenge

    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 contact@theottoolbox.com.

    How to Teach Tow Rope Cursive Letter Connection

    When teaching cursive writing, kids can recognize that cursive letters come in groups. These cursive letter families are how we can teach kids to write letters in chunks of similar pencil strokes. Teaching cursive letters in this manner can be a helpful strategy for allowing kids success when learning the pencil strokes needed for forming cursive letters.  Below, you’ll find a subcategory of cursive letter groups: How to write cursive tow rope letters!

    As we previously discussed, a specific order a teaching cursive letters doesn’t matter as much is teaching a group of letter families together in a block. When students learn cursive letters it is beneficial to learn the pencil strokes associated with cursive letter families. We have covered all of the different cursive letter families including wave letters letters loop letters bump letters. There is a subgroup of cursive letter families that have a slightly different connecting pattern to them. These are the cursive tow rope letters.

    Use these tricks and strategies to to teach cursive letters that have a tow rope connection, this includes teaching lowercase cursive letters b, o, v, w.

    How to Teach Tow Rope Cursive Letter Connection

    If you’ve been following The OT Toolbox over the last month,
    then you know that there’s been quite a lot of information related to cursive
    handwriting. We’ve talked about letter formation, cursive slant, cursive writing speed and rhythm, and even how pencil control is needed in cursive
    handwriting.
    Today, we’re finishing up with a last cursive handwriting
    post in the series. Below you’ll find information on forming cursive letters
    that contain a “tow rope” connector to the letter following them.
    Tow Rope letters are those lowercase cursive letters that
    connect to the next letter using a horizontal line at the middle line. Most
    cursive letters connect with a curved line from the baseline. Tow Rope letters
    connect horizontally and can change formation of the letters that they connect
    to.

    Tow Rope Letters include cursive letters b, o, v, and w.

    How to teach cursive Tow Rope Letters

    Teaching the cursive tow rope letters is not much different
    than teaching other letters of the alphabet. 
    Use of a cursive writing plan can
    help, as can kinesthetic methods and multi-sensory strategies. Using tools such
    as sand paper or writing trays can bring a textural aspect to learning these
    cursive tow rope letters.
    You can read more about teaching each individual letter as
    they were broken down into cursive letter families:
    Loop Letters (Cursive letter b)
    Wave Letters (Cursive letter o)
    Bump Letters (Cursive letter v)
    Tree Letters (Cursive letter w)
    Use these tricks and strategies to to teach cursive letters that have a tow rope connection, this includes teaching lowercase cursive letters b, o, v, w.


    Trick for teaching cursive letters with a tow rope connection

    Teaching kids about the visual of a tow rope that connects a tow truck to it’s haul or a boat to a raft  can be helpful in teaching children to write cursive letters with proper connection between these letters and the letter
    they connect.
    If the tow rope sags or dips down, it can affect how the
    letters appear and result in inaccuracies.
    To show kids how to recognize and recall use of tow rope
    connections, draw a small truck at the end of the tow rope connecting lines.

    Practice cursive letter connections for tow rope letters

    Practice the combinations of cursive letters that contain
    tow rope letters:
    -ba, be, bi, bl, bo, and by
    -va, ve, vi, vo, and vy
    -wa, we, wi, wo, and wy

    -Letter o can be practiced with every letter of the alphabet
    as a vowel letter.

    Use the verbal cues associated with each letters cursive family to formation of these letters. 

    However pencil stroke exercises can be influential in behind and horizontal line to connect. Additionally practice with commonly connecting letters can make a big impact.

    In this way students with practice tow rope letters that connect to other letters as a group. These letter blends commonly and within minutes.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive b


    Teach students to practice be connected to letters that may occur within words. This includes ba, be, bo, bl, br, by.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive o

    Students can practice the commonly connected letters used in words as the letter connects to the second letter. As a vowel, the letter o may connect to every letter of the alphabet. Because of this, students who are learning cursive can practice the formation of o to the individual pencil strokes that are part of different cursive families. That is, practice o connected to the bump of bump letters, the o connected to the wave that occurs wit wave family letters, the o connected to the spike of tree letters, the o connected to the bump of bump letters, and o as an ending letter.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive w

    Students can practice the connection of lowercase cursive w to vowel and some consonant letters:
    Wa, we, wi, wh, wr, wl, wm, wn, wy.

    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive v

    Students can practice the connection of lowercase cursive v to vowels and commonly used consentent letter combinations. This includes: va, ve, vi, vo, vr, and vy.

    Use strategies such as creative cursive to practice these letter combinations in innovative manners to prevent boredom.
    Try these creative ways to practice cursive writing to help kids learn to write cursive letters and write legibly.Creative ways for kids to work on cursive writing including letter formation.

    Cursive Handwriting Loop Letters

    If you’ve been following The OT Toolbox, then you know this month has been FULL of ideas on how to teach cursive writing. Today, you’ll find creative activities and tips for teaching formation of cursive loop letters. Cursive loop letters are those ones that start with a loop line up. Lowercase cursive letters b, e, f, h, k, and l are loop letters. 







    This cursive letter family is a group of cursive letters that are formed with similar pencil strokes.

    Breaking letters down into cursive families can help students learn cursive letter formation. Below, you will find information on how to teach cursive letter formation of “tree letters”.


    Check out how each letter of the alphabet is broken down into chunks of similar letters in this Facebook video.


    Use these tips and strategies to help kids learn to write in cursive and learn the cursive loop letters (Cursive b, d, f, h, k, l)



    Teach cursive letter formation “loop” letters

    This post is part of our 31 day series on teaching cursive. You’ll want to check out the How to Teach Cursive Writing page where you can find all of the posts in this series. 

    For more ways to address the underlying skills needed for handwriting, check out the handwriting drop-down tab at the top of this site.


    Cursive Letter Formation of “Loop” Letters



    When instructing students in forming these letters, start by outlining a cursive letter lesson plan of activities. You can read more about cursive letter lesson plans here.



    Students can start out with learning the cursive letters that make up the Loop Family. 


    Start by practicing a series of upward curves across a line of paper. This can look like a string of cursive letter loopy l‘s joined together. When practicing the curve of the cursive letter l motions in a strand across a page, set the child’s awareness on height and the start/stop point of each curve.

    Most important is the width of the loop. Instruct students to draw the lines with proper width of the loop. A wide loop will make the letter inefficient and difficult to connect to other letters. 
    When beginning with cursive instruction, students should concentrate on an upward curve from the base line to the middle line or top line of the paper. This loop occurs in the Loop Family letters: b, e, f, h, k, and l. 

    Fine Motor Activity for Practicing Cursive Loop Letters 


    Try this activity to practice the loops of the loopy letters.

    Use washable markers to draw loops on a paper towel. (Adding pencil lines for writing spaces before starting can be a big help for addressing loop and letter size!)

    To the loops, add drops of water and watch the colors expand. 


    Be sure to talk to the child about loop height and width as these aspects to cursive writing will carry the most weight when it comes to legibility.


    For a colorful work of art, trace over the marker loops with additional colored markers.
    Read more about this cursive handwriting activity and others here on The OT Toolbox. 



    Activities for Teaching Cursive Loop Letters

    Use short phrases to instruct cursive formation. Phrases like “Loop up to the top line” or “Loop up to the middle line” can help. 



    Try these sensory activities to teach cursive handwriting loop letters:

    Affiliate links are included below.

    Write with glitter or colored glue on lined paper. Allow the glue to dry. Students can feel the raised lines of the loops.

    Draw with wet chalk on a chalkboard or sidewalk. Be sure to add guide lines first to address loop height.

    Create different sized loops using wikki stix. These are a great tool for getting the hands in on the fine motor action with a tactile experience that promotes motor planning and kinesthetic learning. 



    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive b



    Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter b:





    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Swing up to the middle line. Tow rope away to connect.


    Lowercase cursive letter b is a tow rope letter. These are letters that connect at the middle line. They change the beginning of the letter they connect to.



    It can be helpful to practice letters that are commonly connected to letter b such as ba, be, bi, bl, bo, br, bu, and by.



    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive e
    Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter e:

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the middle line and back to the baseline. Loop away to connect.

    Instruct students to stop at the middle line.






    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive f



    Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter f:

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Continue straight down past the baseline. Curve right and up to the baseline, connecting at the strait part of the tail. Swing away to connect. 


    Note about cursive letter f– This letter requires the pencil lines to close the tail into a “bunny ear” type of loop. Think about drawing a tall bunny ear. The lines create a long, loop type of shape that does not cross like a the loop on the top part of the f. Rather, the curved motion has a potential for an opening. It’s important for students to close the tail of the f. Likewise, it’s important to keep the closure point at the baseline. If the closure point creeps up above the baseline or has an opening, the letter can potentially look like a cursive b. Work on loop formation and motor control for closure points in multi-sensory activities such as with sandpaper or in writing trays. 

    b, e, f, h, k, and l. 
    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive h

    Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter h:
    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Pause. Re-trace back up to bump to the middle line. Continue over the bump to the baseline. Swing away to connect.


    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive k

    Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter k:

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Pause. Re-trace back up to bump to the middle line. Continue over the bump and pull back into the loop. Add a kickstand to the baseline. Swing away to connect.


    Note about cursive letter k– This letter requires the pencil lines to close the bump at the loop. It’s important for students to pull the pencil lines in and to close the bump. If the closure point doesn’t close at the loop, the letter can potentially look like a cursive h. Work on loop formation and motor control for closure points in multi-sensory activities such as with sandpaper or in writing trays. 



    How to Teach Lowercase Cursive l

    Use the following verbal prompts to teach lowercase cursive letter l:

    Start at the baseline. Loop up to the top line and back to the baseline. Loop away to connect.


    A few tips for teaching cursive loop letters

    It would be very difficult to teach cursive handwriting only by verbal instruction. Carryover and accuracy would suffer!

    A visual component and slow teaching strategies are very important. Try these tips to help with learning cursive loop letters.

    • Teach each letter individually and for short periods of time each day.
    • Practice cursive letters in multiple sensory experiences, including shaving cream on desks, writing trays, in goop, with play dough or slime, etc.
    • Practice each letter in a group focusing on one letter at a time. When a new letter is introduced, continue with previously learned letters. 




    Want to teach other cursive letter families? 
    Here is information on how to teach wave letters (c, a, d, g, q).
    Try these ideas to teach bump letters (m, n, v, x, y, z).
    Try these ideas to teach tree letters (i, j, p, t, u, and w).


    Use these tips and strategies to help kids learn to write in cursive and learn the cursive loop letters (Cursive b, d, f, h, k, l)


    More Cursive Handwriting Tools and Resources:

    Affiliate links are included.
























    Try these cursive writing tools to help with forming letters:

    Affiliate links are included. 



    Cursive Writing Wizard is a free app on Amazon that allows students to trace letters and words. The app has stickers and animations as well as games that promote learning of cursive letters and connecting lines. 
    Cursive Handwriting Workbook is a workbook for kids in elementary grades and focuses on  formation of cursive letters (upper and lower case) as well as words. 

    Teachers can use a laser pointer in the classroom to help students see parts of cursive letters as they instruct each part of the formation. This is helpful when teaching letters in cursive letter families.