Children are amazing, but we don’t often give ourselves credit for the foundations of playing with children and how it affects children’s later success at school. There is so much research out there, I want to share some of this with you hopefully to take the pressure of so you can enjoy playing with your child and realising your part in their future.
In my experience there is a lot of anxiety over children’s writing. I’m often frantically told (especially as children approach going to school) “they can’t write their name.” I say…”don’t worry.” Even if they can write, you can improve the future quality of writing through play.
Writing development starts early with big arm movements. That’s why we have the easel out a lot at Pre-School, or we have big paper to draw on with chubby pencils and crayons.
Painting with water and decorating brushes outside helps those big arm movements.
The last stage in preparation for writing, is having strong fingers. If fingers aren’t strong enough, then you will have a poor pen grip. Don’t rush it, but some play materials really help. Play doh is an excellent finger gym for children. Squeezing and pinching doh to model it helps creative development, but really helps those fine motor movements needed for writing. Pegs also help that pincer grip, so pegging clothes, or pairing socks with pegs makes strengthening those fingers fun. Threading with string and old birthday cards that have been hole punched helps the pincer grip, very therapeutic and keeps them busy!
Get creative with writing. As adults we now type more and write less, so create opportunities to write lists and make notes. Your children love to copy you! If your out doors paint and write with mud and sticks. Make mud pies and leaf stew…just don’t eat them! Most of all have fun. This will so boost your child’s self esteem and give them confidence.
So when your child is playing, there’s so much learning going on. Plenty of time for sit down learning later, this age goes so fast, slow down and put those play foundations in and enjoy your time with them.
Mark making starts early. Making it fun!