Use of gross, fine motor and visual activities on the previous pages will greatly support your child's readiness for writing-- and the best part is-- they're FUN!

If you'd like to have your child practice handwriting at home, please check with your child's occupational therapist for additional guidance on instructional strategies and tools your child may already be using in therapy.

Tips for Practicing at Home

"Warm-up" your hands:

  • Make large arm circles forward and backward.

  • Squeeze hands together in tight fists, then spread fingers wide apart.

  • Place palm of one hand on desk and raise each finger off desk. Repeat with other hand.

  • Use play-dough to roll snakes and balls, or just to squeeze with each hand.

  • Do finger push-ups. Put fingertips together (spiders in the mirror). Bend and straighten fingers while pushing them against each other.


Posture and Positioning:

  • Students need stable positioning of their hips and feet to allow for optimal upper body control. The desk/table height should be about 2 inches above the elbows (arms are resting at the side) when the child is sitting upright, with feet flat on the floor and hips and knees bent to 90 degrees.

  • If the student cannot reach the floor, try sticking a box, stack books, or place a trash can on its side under his feet.

  • Allow alternative positions such as standing, kneeling, or lying on stomach while performing fine motor activities, as appropriate.

  • Check the paper position. (For right-handed children, paper tilted slightly with right corner higher; for left-handed children, paper tilted slightly with left corner higher.) This helps children keep their wrist straight while writing.

  • Ensure that the "helper hand" (non-dominant hand) is stabilizing the paper. If the child is not stabilizing the paper, tape the paper to the desk to help keep it in place.

  • Try writing on a flat surface. Go outside and use sidewalk chalk, or tape a large sheet of paper to the floor and have students write or draw while lying on their stomachs. This helps develop postural strength of the neck and back and coordinate head and eye movements.


  • Short, stubby pencils work well for students who have difficulty holding a pencil properly. These pencils require that the student hold the pencil closer to the point, which may promote the use of a better tripod grasp.

  • Use a variety of writing tools (pencil, chalk, pen, crayon, paint, markers).

  • Crayons and regular lead pencils increase friction, which usually leads to better control of movement than markers or pens.

Handwriting Tips and Tricks

Incorporate other senses

  • Use a variety of tactile/kinesthetic activities to reinforce writing skills such as drawing large letters in the air or on a chalkboard, writing in play-dough, shaving cream, sand, rice, or finger paint, or practicing writing with eyes closed.

  • Practice visual motor skills by drawing with shapes and letters.

  • Students with low muscle tone often gain more control for fine motor tasks when given gum to chew or hard candy to suck during writing activities. Chewing gum during writing activities can also help with attention.

Handwriting Tips and Tricks:

  • Small or broken crayons to promote tripod grasp

  • Use a 3-ring binder for a quick way to create a slanted surface

  • Use of vertical surfaces-- chalkboard, mirror, easel, wall, etc. to promote shoulder stability, large arm movements, and wrist extension

  • Use masking tape to create an outline in which paper is to be properly placed and tilted on the writing surface

  • Use a "finger spacer" to promote appropriate spacing between letters and words

  • Use raised line paper to promote proper orientation of letter on the writing line